A shortage of EpiPen concerned pharmacists

News 14 January, 2018
  • Vincent Larin

    Saturday, 13 January, 2018 19:59

    Saturday, 13 January, 2018 23:00

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    A shortage of EpiPen for adults announced this week concerned about pharmacists who fear a complete depletion of stock of this emergency medication in case of allergic reactions.

    “If you already have one and it is still good, keep it “, recommends the spokesperson of the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec, Bertrand Bolduc.

    Photo courtesy Yves Beaulieu

    Bertrand Bolduc, College of pharmacy

    The pharmaceutical company Pfizer Canada announced on Thursday that it could no longer provide EpiPen for adults until the beginning of the month of February. This shortage is not related to the model for children, which is two times less powerful.

    “At the present time, the wholesalers, the distributors and the pharmacies have a limited amount of auto-injectors,” admitted the company in an e-mail. These supply problems would be caused by delays at the production plant of the drug.

    Expire after a year

    The three pharmacies in Montreal contacted by The Newspaper on Saturday still had in stock between one and six EpiPen for adults, but two of them could not are already more in order with their suppliers.

    “Sometimes, we can spend four in the same day, other times, it is only one in three weeks “, says the pharmacist, Elizabeth who was not concerned about the situation.

    All the pharmacists contacted have said that they recommend their patients to go to another pharmacy if they no longer have the drug.

    The main problem comes from the fact that this medication is used to treat allergic reactions before going to the emergency expires after only one year, says Bertrand Bolduc.

    Last minute

    “It is for this reason that there is not a lot of stock in the pharmacies, because people always want the medication as fresh as when they buy an EpiPen “, he explains.

    “But, once again, we learn that the shortage at the last minute “, laments the spokesman of the OPQ. According to him, the company would have been able to warn people earlier, which would have enabled us to order the product from overseas.

    Health Canada should allow more companies to register the product to avoid stock-outs to rehearsal, according to Bertrand Bolduc.

    For the moment, Pfizer Canada says it has informed Health Canada of the situation and said it is working on a recovery plan to bring the situation to normal.