In recent weeks, I’ve heard of several parents having difficultly obtaining EpiPens, as their local pharmacies were “out of stock”. However, this morning, I heard on Facebook that one chemist had advised that EpiPens have been “withdrawn”.
EpiPen confirm: no withdrawal and back in stock
I emailed EpiPen and received a very prompt response from Meda Pharmaceuticals that they have not been withdrawn and are available again from today. Meda told me:
“Meda can confirm that EpiPen Jr has not been withdrawn. Due to high levels of demand created following the recall and unexpectedly long out-of-stock of an alternative adrenaline auto-injector, Meda were experiencing a temporary “out of stock” situation of EpiPen Juniors 0.15mg.
We have been working hard to rectify this situation and can now advise you that your pharmacy can order stock again, today the 23rd May.
Meda Pharmaceuticals is committed to ensuring that people with severe acute allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can access reliable emergency treatment when they need it and would like to apologise for this unfortunate situation.”
What should you do if your chemist is out of stock?
What should you do if you have a prescription for an adrenaline auto injector (AAI) but the chemist is out of stock?
In December 2013, several batches of Jext pens were recalled due to a manufacturing fault. When our Jext pen expired earlier this year, our GP gave me a prescription for a replacement Jext. In light of the recall, our local pharmacist gave me an EpiPen in its place. I didn’t have to go back to my GP for a fresh prescription: the pharmacist simply substituted the brand of AAI. So if your prescribed AAI is ever out of stock it is worth checking with the chemist if they can give you one of the other two brands.
I also understand from a pharmacist (thank you, Conan!) that it’s worth ringing round other chemists. Different pharmacies use different wholesalers. So just because one chain of chemists is out of stock, another might not be.
Check your Jext numbers
One final word of warning. A couple of weeks ago my friend picked up her first prescription for Jext pens. She went online to register the pens and discovered that both of the pens she had been given were from the batches that were recalled in December 2013.
This shouldn’t happen. Jext advised pharmacists at the time to “return all non-dispensed Jext® from affected batches to their local Alliance Healthcare distribution centre for a full refund”. However, my friend’s prescription shows that oversights do happen – so it’s worth checking newly issued pens against the list of recalled batch numbers, in case your pharmacy has made a mistake too.