The Epinephrine Auto-Injector Shortage and the Roaring Silence

The Roaring Silence (Apologies to Manfred Mann)

Hear that? The roar of the US Food and Drug Administration as it jumps into the fray of the EpiPen and Adrenaclick generic shortages to coordinate remaining supplies ensuring communities have access to the lifesaving devices? Do you hear that constant drumbeat of Pfizer and Impax providing consumers with day-to-day updates regarding their efforts to address their manufacturing delays?

No? We don’t either.

What we hear is roaring silence from big pharma and the agency that is supposed to regulate them to protect consumers.

In a reasonably functioning system, these pharmaceutical companies would be falling over themselves in efforts to assuage our fears, providing full transparency regarding their manufacturing difficulties, disclosing their strategies for overcoming them, and providing timelines for their resolution.

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In a reasonably functioning system, the FDA would be out front coordinating the effort, ensuring that pharma is doing everything they possibly can to address the shortage and that current stocks of auto-injectors are distributed where they are needed to prevent death-by-anaphylaxis. In a reasonably functioning system, you would call an emergency number set up by the administration to find an auto-injector nearby that can be filled with your prescription.

But we don’t have a reasonably functioning system. Our system is a disaster, where life-saving devices skyrocket in price then suddenly disappear from the market with nothing to mark their disappearance other than the sound of crickets chirping in the background.

In an effort to fill the information void, we ask that you please share your recent experiences finding auto-injectors. Were you able to fill your prescription in your community? Please tell us where. Are you still waiting to have yours filled? Please tell us what your pharmacist said about the expected wait time. Have you been forced to switch brands? Please let us know if you were successful and how you are faring.

Let’s do our best to keep each other informed in the absence of a reasonably functioning system. No one is coming to break the silence.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I have Tricare/Humana as my husband is retired military. I am allowed Epi-Pens thrhough Express-Scripts. I requested refills online in January, and was sent 3 twin packs right away, at no charge!!!

  2. Ours just expired, and it took several days to fill ours. The doctor’s office wasn’t sure in what priority order the pharmacies were doling out their limited supplies and told me I might need to go in first thing to get that day’s supply. Thankfully the pharmacy assured me it was in order of receipt of prescription and that I was “in line” but they could not give me assurance of how long the wait would be. In the interim, a friend offered some with a few months left on them and I was starting to get desperate when I was even having a hard time coordinating a pickup time with her. It made me feel so helpless.

  3. How frustrating all of this is!!! I actually have to purchase a set of epinephrine injectors out of pocket because I could only find them at a pharmacy that is not contracted with my insurance. And it’s a different brand and therefore different container than I’m used to. Of course I’m willing to spend the money if there no other option, but it just doesn’t seem right to me. I have a feeling that the “shortage” is caused by the companies not making as much money off the product as they used to.

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