EpiPens deliver potentially lifesaving doses of the generic drug epinephrine, via an automatic injector that a patient or caregiver can administer in the event of severe allergic reaction.

EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company is used by severe allergy sufferers.
EpiPen auto-injection epinephrine pens manufactured by Mylan NV pharmaceutical company is used by severe allergy sufferers. ( Reuters )

Emergency allergy antidote EpiPen is in short supply in Canada and Britain, but remains available in the United States, the treatment’s manufacturer said.

EpiPens deliver potentially lifesaving doses of the generic drug epinephrine, via an automatic injector that a patient or caregiver can administer in the event of severe allergic reaction.

“We are shipping product. Currently there is no shortage in the US,” said Steve Danehy, a spokesman for Pfizer Inc, which produces the global supply of EpiPens for Mylan out of a single facility near St. Louis, Missouri.

Mylan is in charge of managing allocation of the EpiPen supply, Danehy said. 

It was not immediately clear why Canada and the UK would be subject to a shortage at this time. A Mylan spokeswoman was not available for comment.

On Thursday, Pfizer Canada said it was “experiencing supply constraints” for EpiPens used by both adults and children “due to delays at the manufacturing facility,” as well as problems in sourcing a component for the device from an outside supplier.

There are no alternatives on the market in Canada, federal health officials there said. They advised patients and caregivers to use expired EpiPens in an emergency if they have nothing else on hand, and then call 911. 

“Pfizer understands and regrets the challenges that these ongoing supply constraints pose to patients and the healthcare community,” the company said in a statement on its website.

On Friday, the UK website for EpiPen notified consumers of “intermittent supply constraints” for the adult injector. It said the next shipment to EpiPen’s distributor in the country was expected toward the end of April.

Mylan’s revenue from EpiPen dropped sharply over the last year due to increased competition, the launch of its own cheaper generic and higher rebates that it has had to pay to as a result of a settlement for overcharging the US government.

Source: Reuters