Epipen Shortage is affecting hundreds of families in the Pikes Peak Region. This reflects a nationwide problem.
Over the past few weeks we have filled out hundreds of “school forms” for out patients. One topic that has come up at the pharmacies is a lack of Epipen’s. Yep. There’s a shortage of Epipens. We’ve used this opportunity to encourage our patient’s to consider competitive alternatives like “Adrenaclick” or “Auvi-Q”. Prescribing these alternatives seems to be working for our patients.
Meanwhile, the FDA has now stepped up to help by extending the Expiration date on current Epipens. While this extension should help it does not address the larger issues of “price-gouging” nor answer the questions about why have waited so long to extend the expiration date. Families may spend hundreds of dollars a year to replace their injectable epinephrine. The hope, of course, is that a food allergy family doesn’t need to use it before the expiration.
I always remind families to get injectable Epinephrine with a full one year left on the expiration. You don’t want to buy an Epipen in August that expires in January. It is reasonable to expect a full 1 year of utility. I also advised families to keep their expired Epipens for a few years as “back ups”. However, many institutions, namely schools can not accept an expired medication with a child’s healthcare plan.