Pfizer Canada is currently warning Canadians it is in short supply of EpiPen auto-injectors in the 0.3 milligram format.
EpiPen is used to deliver an emergency treatment of adrenaline to patients who are at risk or have a history of life-threatening allergic reactions. There are currently no alternative auto-injectors available on the market in Canada.
The shortage is reportedly the result of a manufacturing disruption that should be resolved by the first week in March.
According to a statement on the company’s website, www.epipen.ca, there is currently a limited supply of the auto-injectors at wholesalers, distributors and pharmacies.
“While we are working closely with our distributors to avoid long-term supply shortage at the store level, we expect a period of between two and four weeks of no inventory,” the statement reads.
“Additional limited inventory will be supplied at the beginning of February 2018 which will be placed under allocation and we will continue to manage supply carefully.”
Pfizer has advised and is working with Health Canada on the issue. The company says it is looking into remediation plans as well.
“We understand and regret the challenges this shortage poses to patients. Ensuring continuity of the supply of our medicines is paramount, and this temporary supply interruption does not indicate an impact on the quality, safety or efficacy of EpiPen auto-injectors currently available on the Canadian market,” the statement reads.
“Pfizer fully realizes the importance of this medicine to our customers and patients, and has taken action to minimize the duration of the supply interruption, including efforts to expedite delivery of available supply.”
According to Health Canada, 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 until Jan. 31.
Generally, individuals are recommended to have more than one auto-injector with different expiry dates to avoid being in the situation of only having an expired auto-injector.
In this shortage situation, however, 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 then head to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.