New Immunity for Physicians Prescribing Epinephrine Auto-Injectors Increases Likelihood of Local Educational Agencies Obtaining Prescriptions

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
August 2015
Number 46

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 738 into law, which provides qualified immunity to physicians who issue a prescription for epinephrine auto-injectors (commonly known as "EpiPens") to a local educational agency (LEA), such as a school district, county office of education, or charter school. The qualified immunity provided would prohibit a prescribing physician from being subject to professional review, being liable in a civil action, or being subject to criminal prosecution due to prescribing epinephrine auto-injectors. An exception exists if the physician's issuance of the prescription for the epinephrine auto-injectors constitutes gross negligence or willful or malicious conduct.

Previously, physicians were not provided liability protections for prescribing epinephrine auto-injectors to LEAs, despite the passage of SB 1266 in September 2014. SB 1266 required LEAs to provide emergency epinephrine auto-injectors to school nurses or personnel who have volunteered and received the required training (See Client News Brief No. 66, September 2014).

The absence of qualified immunity made it difficult for some LEAs to obtain the required prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors as some physicians were unwilling to issue a prescription out of concern for the potential liability. The passage of SB 738 provides physicians with protections afforded to other persons and entities who comply with epinephrine auto-injector laws and is likely to minimize school districts' difficulties in obtaining prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors.

If you have any questions regarding physician immunity for writing prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors or complying with SB 1266, please contact one of our nine offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or download our Client News Brief App.
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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.