Anyone with a serious anaphylactic allergy knows that an Epi-Pen can mean the difference between life or death. When someone comes into contact with an allergy causing substance that results in a closed airway, an Epi-Pen is sometimes the only answer. Epi-Pens release a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs giving those dealing with a server allergic reaction, essential time to get the help they need.
However according to Health Canada, those in the country who use an Epi-Pen should be warned that auto-injector EpiPen 0.3 mg and that its EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg are in short supply across. The company that makes the auto-injectors reported shortages of both the regular and junior versions of the life saving injectors.
Pfizer Canada, the only Epi-Pen supplier in Canada noted that both the regular EpiPen and the EpiPen Junior for children who weigh between 15 and 30 kilograms are as of today in short supply.
At this time there are no alternative auto-injectors that those who suffer from severe allergies can use in Canadian.
To deal with the shortage, Health Canada is resorting to rationing Epi-Pens out to those who absolutely need them - and not filling prescriptions for anyone who just wants an extra pen on hand. They also say that pens have a 12-18 month shelf life and if in an emergency even an expired pen could work and that you should call 911 immediately.
While less serious shortages have happened in the past, this current one can be blamed on a manufacturing delay at the Missouri plant who delivers to Canada. They are also delayed due to a third party company who makes a limited supply of one component of the auto-injector, Pfizer said in a news release yesterday.
Health Canada says that both product shortages are expected to be resolved by the end of May. Overall it expects a period of between two and four weeks of no inventory. The professional recommendation going around is not to panic and to remember that past shortages have been handled well in the country.