Two members of Congress urge EpiPens to be mandatory equipment on airplanes

In a bipartisan push, two members of Congress are recommending that epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, should be in airplane emergency medical kits. Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and David Valadao (R-CA) sent a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


The letter was reportedly sent shortly before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2023 was introduced by the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill is designed to promote aviation safety, regulate fares and improve consumer protection.

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A “lifesaving measure”

In a statement, Houlahan said EpiPens will help reduce in-flight medical emergencies.

“Anaphylaxis and severe allergic reactions can happen at any time and in an instant. We know that the best way to treat them immediately when they occur is with epinephrine auto-injectors like EpiPens. Including this life-saving measure on commercial flights is a sensible decision to avoid in-flight medical emergencies.”

Emergency medical kits

According to Houlahan’s office, the letter explicitly addressed to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the leadership of the Aviation Subcommittee encouraged the committee to request the FAA to regularly review the contents of onboard medical kits. On June 14, the Committee passed an amendment requiring the FAA to do so. With the decision, the FAA administrator must review and update regulations of emergency medical kit contents and required medical training for airline flight crews within 12 months.

Multiple aircraft lined up near a runway.

Photo: Jaromir Chalabala I Shutterstock

The amendment also requires the Administrator to consider new medications that may be included in emergency kits and examine whether the contents contain essential medications and equipment that can be used to treat the emergency medical needs of pregnant women, children, arrest heart disease, anaphylaxis and opioid overdose.

“It’s great that there will be a review and update of the contents in emergency medical kits and whether they can be practically administered in flight,” Hulahan said. “I hope the FAA’s reauthorization will lead to the FAA protecting thousands of Americans by using this mandatory review to include auto-injectors on commercial flights.

Reduce emergencies and save lives

Valadao said having the proper medical equipment on board will ensure passengers’ safety and provide peace of mind.

“Ensuring that planes have EpiPens on board and that our airline crews are trained to administer these emergency drugs is a measure that would undoubtedly save lives,” the representative explained.

Delta Comfort+ and main cabin

Photo: Delta Air Lines

Valadao is the co-chair of the Congressional Allergy and Asthma Caucus, a bipartisan group dedicated to raising awareness of health and economic concerns related to asthma and severe allergies. The representative said that since people with severe allergies are at risk of anaphylaxis, it makes sense to reform FAA regulations to protect travelers.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 32 million Americans deal with food allergies. The foundation also encourages the use of EpiPens on commercial flights.

“The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America applauds Representatives Houlahan and Valadao for initiating this bipartisan letter to ensure that every passenger airline emergency medical kit includes epinephrine auto-injectors, and we appreciate the 14 Representatives who co-signed the letter,” said Kenneth Mendez, CEO of the foundation.

Sources: The office of US Representative Chrissy Houlahan

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