Having trouble finding an EpiPen? You’re not alone. For months now, allergy sufferers have been on edge about the dwindling supply of EpiPens.
As the EpiPen shortage continues, Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia is pushing for a fix to ensure Aussie families can receive the medication they need.
Imagine your child or teen has life-threatening allergies. Now, imagine finding out that you’ve run out of medication. Normally, you would head to the chemist for a refill, right? But this isn’t an option for many families who depend on the EpiPen.
Instead, families are driving around to 10, 15, even 20 different pharmacies to find the life-saving medication. And this scary situation has been going on for months.
What’s the problem?
The EpiPen shortage in Australia relates to the EpiPen 300mcg autoinjectors, used in children and adults over 20 kilograms. The shortage does not affect EpiPen Jnr 150 mcg autoinjectors.
The issue lies in the fact that the main EpiPen supplier (Mylan, a division of Pfizer) got into a bit of trouble over “significant violations in manufacturing” last year.
This has halted manufacturing and affected the supply of EpiPens in Australia as well as America and Canada. You may remember an EpiPen recall in March 2017 followed by frequent EpiPen supply warnings.
Although a Pfizer spokesman said the company expects production rates for EpiPens to increase over the coming months, health officials – and families – are fed up.
A new solution for the EpiPen shortage
Spokesperson Maria Said from Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia previously stated, “We need to get to the bottom root cause of why we’ve got this shortage and why these shortages keep happening.”
Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia is lobbying the government to approve an alternative American supplier of anti-allergy medication.
The new medication is called Auvi-Q. It is considered the “first and only FDA-approved epinephrine auto-injector for infants and toddlers weighing 16.5 lbs to 33 lbs with life-threatening allergies.”
It is also suitable for older children and adults.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has already approved two other products for sale, AdrenaJect and Emerade. Even so, neither are available yet in Australia. Allergy sufferers are instead being urged to keep expired EpiPens and use them in an emergency, as long as the liquid inside isn’t discoloured.
“Whilst the use of an expired adrenaline autoinjector is not ideal, research suggests that recently expired devices retain potency,” the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) has advised.
“Therefore, if no other adrenaline autoinjector is available, use of a recently expired device to treat anaphylaxis is advised.”
For more information on EpiPens, please see the latest EpiPen changes that all families need to know.