There is a nationwide shortage of EpiPens according to the Food and Drug administration. The epinephrine auto-injectors medication is needed by millions of Americans to treat potentially fatal allergic reactions.
The manufacturer of EpiPens, Mylan, said that it is still able to ship the EpiPens to wholesalers. But the company acknowledged that supplies at pharmacies may vary. Both Mylan and the FDA are unable to indicate how long the shortage may last.
This shortage appears to be related to a warning letter the FCA sent to a Mylan supplier, Meridian Medical Technologies. The September 2017 letter said the company failed to investigate hundreds of consumer complaints. Apparently, the device was not working correctly during an emergency.
The FDA also acknowledged that there are shortages with competitors to Mylan. Adrenaclick, made by Impax Laboratories, is experiencing manufacturing problems.
According to an article by Consumer Reports, here are some strategies to use if you can’t fill your prescription for an EpiPen.
Strategies in Case of Emergency
Call around. Representatives at CVS, Costco, Kmart, and other national chains told us that while some of their stores were indeed out, others were not. CVS spokesperson Amy Lanctot recommended calling ahead to confirm, “as supplies vary from store to store.”
Ask Mylan for help. If you need help finding a store in your area, you could call Mylan. Call customer relations at 800-796-9526, then press 2. Customer service is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.
Ask about alternatives. Our shoppers found that pharmacies that are out of your usual brand might be able to fill it with an alternative. For example, if you usually get an EpiPen, ask if they have generic Adrenaclick in stock instead, and vice versa.
Consider ordering from Healthwarehouse.com. Justin Danford, spokesperson for the U.S.-based, online retailer, says the company has EpiPens, generic EpiPens, and generic Adrenaclick in stock now, though, as with other retailers, supplies may be limited.
Last resort: Don’t throw away your old injector even if it’s about to expire. It’s not ideal, but keep your old injector on hand until you can refill your prescription, provided that that medication in the injector is clear and colorless.
Finally, call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone close to you experiences a serious allergic reaction and you don’t have any type of epinephrine auto-injector on hand.