FDA Announces Nationwide EpiPen Shortage, Causing Concern for People with Severe Allergies
But there's a few ways you can still find the life-saving drug in stores.
The Food and Drug Administration added EpiPens to its list of drug shortages on Wednesday, creating worry in people with severe allergies.
The shortage applies to the Mylan-brand EpiPen, according to NBC News, as well as Mylan’s generic version and an autoinjector from another brand, Adrenaclick. The FDA said the companies had supply disruptions but Mylan said it’s still possible to find some stock of the Epinephrine autoinjectors.
“There are intermittent supply constraints; however, product is available and Mylan is currently receiving continual supply from its manufacturing partner Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company,” reads a statement on the company’s website. “Mylan is expediting shipment to wholesalers upon receipt, and supply levels may vary across wholesalers and pharmacies.”
Additionally, the FDA expects the EpiPen to be back soon.
“Based on the information provided by the manufacturer, the FDA anticipates the EpiPen shortage to be short-term,” an FDA spokesperson said.
The FDA advised people to check expiration dates on their current EpiPens and to acquire Epinephrine autoinjectors from other brands, like Kaleo’s Auvi-Q, in the meantime.
The FDA’s announcement comes after demands from the public to address the difficulty in acquiring EpiPens. The advocacy group FARE — Food Allergy Research and Education — called on the FDA to make a statement on May 7.
“More than 400 people in 45 states have reported difficulties filling or refilling prescriptions,” FARE posted on Twitter.
Mylan’s EpiPens are the best-known Epinephrine autoinjectors on the market, but the company has been at the center of several controversies over the last few years. Since the company took over manufacturing the product in 2007, the price has increased by more than 400 percent to over $500. It was originally just $57.
And in March 2017, Mylan had to recall tens of thousands EpiPens after two reports said that they had failed to work during an emergency. In September, the FDA issued a warning to the manufacturer because it did not properly investigate issues at a plant in Missouri or resolve the complaints about the EpiPens failing in emergencies.
The FDA said shortages are likely due to these recent issues, according to NBC News.
“Drug shortages are most often caused by poor quality manufacturing; not by FDA compliance actions, or by warning letters,” the FDA said. “Patients expect and deserve high-quality drug products. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that its drug products are safe, effective, and of high quality.”
If you or someone in your family suffers from food allergies, there's a few things you can do to find an EpiPen during this shortage, according to Consumer Reports:
- Call your local pharmacy before you go: Many pharmacies, including national chains like CVS and Walgreens, are low on stock—but they might be able to tell you of a location where EpiPens are available.
- Call the manufacturer and ask for help: Mylan, the producer behind the EpiPen, can be reached via a customer service line, 800-796-9526. One healthcare professional says she was able to source EpiPens after speaking with a representative.
- Buy the alternative: Even if your local pharmacy is out of EpiPens, they may have store-branded products or general alternatives to the brand, such as Adrenaclick.
- Look for EpiPens online: Online retailers such as Healthwarehouse.com have reportedly shared that they have products in stock and can expedite shipping out to customers.