Lifesaving EpiPen on backorder at local pharmacies

| 17 May 2018 | 10:26

— A number of pharmacies in the Orange County area are reporting having difficulty getting EpiPen, devices that deliver the lifesaving drug severe allergy sufferers depend on in potentially fatal emergencies.
According to a survey of 25 pharmacies in Orange County, 13 said they had some version of the EpiPen, whether it be the brand name or generic, in stock. Seven pharmacies said they did not have any EpiPen at the moment. Four did not respond.
“We got four boxes yesterday (May 15) and it’s actually sold out now,” said Miyoung Kim at the ShopRite Pharmacy on Brookside Ave in Chester. “The patients were waiting for their prescriptions, so they got their medication. But there’s nothing at the wholesaler right now.”
Kim said EpiPen products are experiencing a “delay in production.”
A number of the pharmacies that reported having either EpiPen brand or generic EpiPen in stock said they only had one or two.
National shortageOrange County isn’t the only place dealing with a shortage. Americans across the country are having trouble finding EpiPen products, with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration adding the authorized generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen, as well as Impax Laboratories’ Adrenaclick to their drug shortage list last week.
According to the FDA, the shortage is due to manufacturing delays.
“There are intermittent supply constraints due to manufacturing delays from the manufacturing partner, Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company,” the FDA said last week. “Mylan is receiving continual supply from MMT and expediting shipment to wholesalers upon receipt. Supply levels may vary across wholesalers and pharmacies.
“Patients who are experiencing difficulty accessing product should contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance in locating alternative pharmacies.”
More than 400 patients in 45 states reported difficulty filling prescriptions for EpiPen and other epinephrine autoinjectors since May 2, according to patient-advocacy group Food Allergy Research & Education.
Both Mylan and Pfizer also released statements acknowledging the problem, saying that they are “working tirelessly to increase production as rapidly as possible.”
BackorderedWhile the national shortage continues, many local pharmacies are waiting for EpiPen shipments.
“It’s been on backorder for at least three weeks now, I think,” said Tricia Thomas at the CVS Pharmacy on Bailey Farm Road in Monroe.
“We don’t have it and there’s no release date,” she said.
Others reported not having any issues with restocking through their wholesale distributors, including Apple Valley Pharmacy in Warwick and Woodbury Pharmacy on Route 32.
Both pharmacies in Goshen reported having no EpiPen devices in stock, while most other municipalities had at least one pharmacy with some form of EpiPen.
Pharmacies in both Sussex County, N.J. and Pike County, Pa. are also experiencing trouble restocking EpiPen devices.
EpiPen prices ranged from $500 to over $700. The generic EpiPen ranged in price from $100 to $400.
The few alternative options to EpiPen include Adrenaclick, which is often cheaper than EpiPen but is also on the FDA shortage list, as well as Auvi-Q, an often times much more expensive option costing several thousand dollars.
But these options will not help patients trying to fill prescriptions specifically for EpiPen. The FDA urges patients to talk to their doctor or pharmacist before getting an alternative device than their usual prescription, since injection methods and epinephrine dosages may be different.