Shortage of EpiPen (0.3 mg) auto-injector in Canada
OTTAWA – Pfizer Canada has advised Health Canada that there is currently a shortage of EpiPen auto-injectors in the 0.3 mg format (DIN 00509558). The shortage is reported to be due to a manufacturing disruption and is currently anticipated to be resolved by March 2, 2018. According to Pfizer, the shortage does not impact EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) products, which remain available.
EpiPen is 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). There are currently no alternative auto-injectors available on the market in Canada.
While Pfizer is working closely with its distributors to resolve the shortage as soon as possible, it expects a period of between two and four weeks of no inventory of the 0.3 mg format. Pfizer has advised that additional limited inventory will be available at the beginning of February 2018 and that it will continue to manage supply carefully. Pfizer is asking pharmacists to keep this supply interruption in mind when filling prescriptions.
EpiPen auto-injectors expire on the last day of the month as indicated on the product packaging. For example, if the product is marked as expiring in January it remains valid (not expired) until January 31. In general, it is recommended that individuals have more than one auto-injector with different expiry dates to avoid being in the situation of only having an expired auto-injector. However, in this shortage situation, if an individual is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, Health Canada advises Canadians to use the expired product and immediately contact 911. As instructed in the labelling of the product, the patient should get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible following the administration of the product.
Canadians are encouraged to visit drugshortagescanada.ca or contact Pfizer directly for up-to-date information about the shortage and estimated re-supply dates. Patients with questions or concerns about the shortage may also wish to speak to their health care professional.
The health and safety of Canadians is Health Canada’s first priority. We are working closely with the company, the provinces and territories as well as other stakeholders to coordinate information sharing and help minimize the impact of this shortage on Canadians.
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