For those who need an EpiPen, it may be time to stock up as Pfizer Canada has announced a possible shortage of the 0.3 mg format EpiPen auto-injector in the coming months.
According to information to date, Health Canada anticipates there will be adequate supply of epinephrine auto-injectors in Canada to meet the needs of Canadians but say they will not hesitate to facilitate the import of additional international supply if needed.
The Interim Order — signed last year by the Minister of Health responding to a previous shortage — facilitates the import of an alternative epinephrine auto-injector, Auvi-Q, which remains in effect and will be available for Canadians to access if need be.
Auvi-Q, approved in the United States, delivers the same dose of epinephrine as EpiPen. Information for health care professionals regarding the U.S. version of the medication is available on Health Canada’s website, including how to order it.
While the EpiPen 0.3 mg supply is currently available and continues to be shipped, Pfizer says as a precaution they have begun managing the distribution of existing supply to help ensure consistent access for patients and anticipates the issue will be fully resolved in early October. The EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) is not affected by this shortage.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are used to deliver an emergency treatment of adrenaline (epinephrine) to patients who are at risk for, or have a history of, life-threatening allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.
Heath Canada says they are monitoring the situation closely and working with Pfizer, the provinces and territories as well as stakeholders to prevent impacts on Canadians who rely on these life-saving drugs.
They are also reminding Canadians that EpiPen products expire on the last day of the month indicated on the package for example products with an August expiry date do not expire until August 31.
Canadians are encouraged to visit drugshortagescanada.ca or contact Pfizer Canada if they have questions about EpiPen availability. Patients should talk to their pharmacist if they have questions or concerns.
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