EpiPen shortage to continue into August, Health Canada warns

A package of Epi Pen epinephrine auto-injectors.					Rich Pedroncelli  AP

A package of Epi Pen epinephrine auto-injectors. Rich Pedroncelli AP

According to Health Canada, while some pharmacies may now have some supply on-hand, it will likely be depleted in the coming days or weeks. There is no manufacturer of EpiPens in Canada other than Pfizer.

Pfizer has now told Health Canada it won't have new stock of the adult dose until the end of August. "Due to manufacturing complexities and relatively short shelf life, inventory management of EpiPen auto-injectors can be challenging at times", wrote a Pfizer spokesperson to the Toronto Star.

Specifically, there will be a shortage of the EpiPen (0.3 mg) and EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) auto-injectors.

The 0.15mg EpiPen Jr. injectors for children are expected to remain available, with supplies managed at a national level to keep stocks up.

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EpiPens provide users at risk of the life-threatening allergic reaction anaphylaxis with an emergency shot of epinephrine.

Health Canada is reminding people that the EpiPen expires on the last day of the month, so if the expiry date says "August", the pen can be used until August 31. Health Canada said anyone who has an anaphylactic reaction but has only an expired EpiPen should use the expired product and immediately call 911.

Health Canada continues to work closely with the company, the provinces and territories and stakeholders to help minimize the impact of this shortage on Canadians. The company said EpiPens Jr., in the.15 mg size, is still available in limited quantities.

"We understand the stress that a shortage of a necessary medication can place on patients, families, and the health system", Health Canada stated.

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