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12-year-old on a mission to require allergen information on medications


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    MAPLE GROVE, Minnesota (WCCO) — A 7th grader in Maple Grove is on a mission to make a big change that could affect millions of Americans.

Twelve-year-old Adina Togal has celiac disease, a condition where consuming any gluten can get her really sick.

“I got sick at camp but I didn’t realize me getting sick would be able to change 40 million people’s lives,” Adina Togal said.

Two summers ago, Adina Togal was hospitalized after a severe reaction, but it wasn’t from anything she ate. It was her antibiotic to treat strep throat. The amoxicillin, like all pharmaceutical drugs, may list active and inactive ingredients, but it does not list any potential allergies, like gluten or lactose.

“There are some things people just don’t look at they should look at,” Adina Togal said.

Seth Togal, Adina’s dad, says he doesn’t even know what he’s looking for when he’s reading the labels on medications.

“They’re not even Google-able to get clear answers,” Seth Togal said.

Once Adina Togal got home, the family went looking for answers, and they said the pharma companies wouldn’t play ball.

That’s when they went to their congressman, Dean Phillips. They wrote everyday for weeks until they got a meeting.

The result is the Allergen Disclosure in Non-food Articles (ADINA) Act, co-sponsored by Phillips and 21 others from both parties.

The bill would require drug makers to make allergen information available to all consumers, but the bill right now can’t go anywhere, and Phillips says this fight is personal.

“We should all be having all be having those conversations about identifying somebody of integrity with the mission to be the Speaker of the House, not just the Speaker for the Democrats or for the Republicans,” Phillips said. “Yes, I’m working on [the ADINA act] right now, and I’ll do my utmost to make sure that assumes the position is prepared, competant and compassionate.”

Adina Togal knows she’s not a voter yet, but she does have an important voice.

“It’s not just me,” she said. “It’s a lot of people. It can change a lot of people’s lives and how they live day to day.”

The ADINA Act has one sponsor in the U.S. Senate, so there is a chance the bill can at least get moving on the other side of the Capitol.

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