Patients told to use EpiPens up to four months past expiry date amid shortages


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By Léa Legraien
Reporter

01 Oct 2018

Patients with severe allergies can use certain batches of EpiPen four months after their expiry date, the Government has said.

In a supply alert issued last week (28 September), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that patients can use some batches of EpiPen and EpiPen Junior, due to ‘limited availability for the remainder of 2018’.

 

The affected lots are:

 

LOT Labelled Expiry Date (end of the month) Extended Use by Date (end of the month)
6FA794J 07.2018 11.2018
6FA795Y 07.2018 11.2018
7FA112F 09.2018 01.2019
7FA106B 09.2018 01.2019
7FA283B 10.2018 02.2019
7FA251D 10.2018 02.2019
7FA250B 10.2018 02.2019
7FA265C 11.2018 03.2019
7FA265B 11.2018 03.2019

 

‘Limited availability’

 

The DHSC said: ‘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.

‘Mylan UK 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 by four months.

The DHSC also recommended that primary care professionals, including pharmacists, prescribe and dispense adult and child auto-injectors only to ‘those who truly need them, as any additional issuing to patients who are worried about the shortages could exacerbate the overall supply situation’.

 

Ongoing shortages

 

According to the DHSC, the global pharmaceutical company Mylan has had shortage issues with EpiPen for several months, due to manufacturing delays from its contract manufacturer Meridian Medical Technologies part of (US pharmaceutical company Pfizer).

‘Stabilising supply is taking longer than anticipated and is affecting countries globally.

Initially the delays affected the 300mcg preparation of EpiPen, however these have recently been extended to the EpiPen Junior 150mcg device,’ the DHSC said.

‘Limited supply will be received in October but is not foreseen to be sufficient to fulfil normal demand. Further deliveries are expected in mid-November, therefore there will continue to be intermittent supply constraints.’

 

Auto-inject devices available

 

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) director of pharmacy Robbie Turner told The Pharmacist today (1 October) that ‘although stock problems continue, there are auto-inject devices available’.

According to him, pharmacists can give the following advice to patients requiring EpiPens:

– The best thing for patient is to ask for their prescription in good time, allowing several weeks before it is required to give their pharmacist time to track down stock.

– There are two other brands of auto-inject device available, Jext and Emerade. If patients get a new brand, it is important they ask their pharmacist to show how to use it.

– Patients should carry two auto-inject devices with them at all times if at risk of anaphylaxis.

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