What you need to know about the EpiPen shortage

Posted at 10:13 AM, Aug 20, 2018

If you’re the parent of a child with a serious allergy, you know the importance of the EpiPen, the device that delivers life-saving epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) to someone suffering from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.

However, as of May 2018, Mylan’s brand-name EpiPen, as well as its authorized generic, Adrenaclick, were all added to the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage list. That means those who rely on these devices in case of emergency may find themselves without access.

Adding to the problem is the scramble to obtain EpiPens (and similar products) that often comes this time of year as kids head back to school and up their exposure to possible allergens.

The reason for the EpiPen shortage has to do with manufacturing issues at the Missouri facility that is run by Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc. (owned by pharmaceutical giant Pzifer Inc.), where all U.S.-based EpiPen products are manufactured. The shortage of Adrenaclick is due to a supply problem.

In a statement provided to Fox 8 News, the FDA said it is “working closely with manufacturers and monitoring their supply as the school years begins since this is historically accompanied by increased product demand.” The FDA also offered more resources on its website, including manufacturer contact information.

Fortunately, AUVI-Q, another epinephrine injector, which is made by the company Kaleo, is not undergoing a shortage. According to an Aug. 14 statement from Kaleo, its products “are available for prescription and are not affected by the manufacturing delays reported by other epinephrine manufacturers.”

But for those who are on the hunt for EpiPen and Adrenaclick, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a patient advocacy group, suggested looking for the products at independent pharmacies and grocery store pharmacies. FARE offers more resources for navigating the shortage on their website.

Mylan encouraged patients to call its Customer Relations department at 800-796-9526 for help locating alternative pharmacies. The company recently extended its hours to Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, and said it been successful in locating products for customers who have been unable to find it on their own.