Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can happen anytime, anywhere – even in people not previously diagnosed with an allergy. Allergies represent the most common chronic disease in Europe, and are particularly prevalent in children.1 Exposure to certain foods, environmental substances like pollen, household materials like latex, or numerous other common allergens could lead to a fatality within minutes.2 Deaths that result from a sudden, unexpected episode of anaphylactic shock are particularly tragic considering that, according to the World Health Organization, the timely administration of adrenaline is potentially lifesaving.3 The WHO recommends intramuscular adrenaline as an essential, first-line treatment for anaphylaxis.4
Raise awareness about food allergies, anaphylaxis, and management of allergic reactions.
Allow for emergency medicines, such as AAIs, to be made available in public places where risk of allergic reaction could be higher.
Organisations such as schools, offices, restaurants, and sports venues should be permitted to keep emergency medicines such as AAIs on hand without the need for a prescription designated to a particular person. This change is in line with the EU 4 Health program’s stated goals, which include enhancing the availability and accessibility of medicinal products and medical devices. The decision to acquire AAIs for emergency use can remain voluntary and be left up to the organisation.
While Ireland and Portugal have recently adopted policies in line with those in the US, UK, and Australia, laws in most Member States still forbid acquisition of AAIs for public places.
Create and promote EU-wide, evidence-based guidelines for allergy management and response to anaphylaxis, including recommendations around the emergency administration of AAIs.
European-level guidance covering diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of allergies is essential. This guidance should include a harmonized framework for the acquisition, storage, and procedures for administration of AAIs in public places.
Currently, only a few Member States have such guidelines, and they are varied and fragmented between countries.