As people may be aware, it has been reported that those with severe allergies who need to carry life-saving medication are being forced to rely on out-of-date Epi-Pens due to a global shortage.
EpiPen and EpiPen Junior devices, which are supplied by Mylan and produced by Pfizer, have faced shortages in the UK.
The latest stock shortages have led the medicines regulator to say that some Autoinjectors are safe to use up to 4 months after they expire amid fears those with severe allergies who go into anaphylactic shock would be left with no alternative.
It was forced to extend the use-by-date of some Epi-Pens by four months after concerns were raised from users that their current shots were due to expire and they had been unable to get replacements. However, the extension does not apply to the Junior version.
A statement issued to healthcare providers on behalf of the Department of Health noted: “EpiPen and EpiPen Junior will be subject to limited availability for the remainder of 2018. Mylan are now out of stock of EpiPen Junior and interruptions in the supply are anticipated to continue for the coming months.”
More of the Junior devices are expected in stock in October, but it is not clear whether these will meet demand.
Manufacturing problems in the US have meant disruption for suppliers of Epi-Pens – the most common adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) are prescribed to those who suffer severe allergies such as to nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, eggs or some fruits.
Those affected are usually recommended to keep two AAIs with them at all times in case of a reaction. Epi-Pens can only be used once and have an expiry date of at least 12 months.
A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care to healthcare providers said: “Mylan have obtained acceptance from the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) to extend the use of specific batch numbers of EpiPen 300mcg auto-injectors beyond the labelled expiry date for four months.”
ABC Worksafe advise all Users of these pens to contact their GP or Pharmacy for more advice.