EpiPen shortage across Canada

Published On April 13, 2018 | By HN Staff | Health, News

There is another EpiPen shortage across the country according to Pfizer Canada. Courtesy WikiCommons

Aleema Ali

Regular and junior EpiPens are in short supply as of Friday, according to Health Canada.

EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. are used to deliver an emergency treatment of adrenaline (epinephrine) to patients who are at risk or have a history of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

Health Canada stressed that a shortage does not necessarily mean there are none left, but that there is a limited supply. Whatever products pharmacies have, are being “carefully managed.”

In a statement made yesterday on their site, Pfizer Canada says the supply constraints are due to delays at the manufacturing facilities.

Pfizer said it is “working with its global network to recover supply of EpiPen products. In addition, Pfizer and Health Canada have been providing regular communication updates to key stakeholders on the supply status of EpiPen.”

 Kerri Elkas, manager of corporate affairs at Pfizer, said due to manufacturing complexities and a short shelf-life, inventory management of the auto-injectors can be “challenging at times.”

“Despite careful inventory and supply chain management by Pfizer Canada, it is not unusual for EpiPen auto-injectors to be on backorder for limited periods of time,” said Elkas.

In terms of alternatives, Elkas said there aren’t any at the moment.

“While there have previously been other epinephrine auto-injectors available on the Canadian market, currently EpiPen is the only epinephrine auto-injector available in Canada, with currently no alternatives,” said Elkas.

In general, people should have more than one auto-injector with different expiry dates. Pfizer advises anyone “experiencing an anaphylactic reaction and have only an expired auto-injector, use the expired product and immediately contact 911,” said Elkas.

However, it is not clear as to what affects an expired EpiPen can have.

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