The world is coping with shortages of many medications largely due to supply chain disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That said, allergy sufferers who must carry epinephrine auto-injectors are no strangers to shortages of the devices, having suffered through numerous episodes in recent years.
As of today, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports no serious shortage of auto-injectors in the US. But one predictor that sometimes precedes a US shortage is the lack of availability of the devices abroad in places like Canada, the UK, and the EU.
Now, it appears the Netherlands is suffering a shortage of EpiPen brand auto-injectors and it’s not looking like it will be resolved any time soon. Pharmacists there see no increase in supply happening until at least 2023, this at a time when much of Europe is experiencing an especially harsh wasp season.
Says Stefan Emmen, a pharmacist in Roosendaal and spokesperson on behalf of the pharmacists’ association Midden- en West-Brabant: “When I order them now, they’re not there. And it’s hard to say when they will return.”
He is working to try and obtain inventory from abroad but that is not an easy task. “After all, the demand is great now, given the wasp season. If you have a pen in your pocket that is actually already expired, don’t throw it away yet,” he advises.
So is the shortage in the Netherlands just a regional issue confined to the EU or should we be girding for a shortage of EpiPen and EpiPen generics in the US? We have reached out to Viatris (formerly Mylan) with that very question and will report back when we receive a response.
In the meantime, there’s no need to panic as Viatris is reporting no such shortage in the US. But given a recent study that confirms epinephrine auto-injectors retain much of their potency after their expiration dates, it is always a good idea to keep a stash of recently expired devices around just in case.
- Current and Resolved Drug Shortages and Discontinuations Reported to FDA: Epinephrine Auto-Injectors — US Food & Drug Administration
- Steeds een tekort aan een ander medicijn: nu is de EpiPen niet te krijgen — Omroep Brabant