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Epipen shortages leads to extended expiration dates

Posted: 3:22 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 16:22:02-04

With nationwide shortages of the EpiPen, the FDA is taking action to address the problem.  The agency says it’s extending the expiration dates on some injectors.

6-year-old Nathan Schuller-Meyer has a life-threatening food allergy. Like millions of people, he doesn’t leave home without his Epipen, but his mom says finding one this summer hasn’t been easy.

“I tried to get our beginning of the school year EpiPens and was told there was a wait .  Our Walgreens told us it might be October before they get any in,” said Nathan’s mom, Clarissa Schuller-Meyer.

Epipens generic

The EpiPen has been on the FDA’s drug shortages list since may due to supply disruptions and manufacturing issues.

“Having this essential medication on back order has been a real problem for lots of people, a lot of pharmacies,” said Blake Maxson, Goldstar Pharmacy Manager.

To help in the short term, the FDA and EpiPen manufacturer Pfizer are extending expiration dates for certain injectors that are expired or close to expiring.  They say they’ve reviewed the data – and patients should have confidence using the products as they work to stabilize supply.

“Students should not be going back to school this year without their auto-injector,” stated Dr. Clifford Bassett, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology is encouraging families having trouble finding their medications to consider alternatives.

“Patients should have no fear or concerns about embracing one of these alternatives if they can’t get their hands on the EpiPen,” asks the reporter.

“That’s right.  The alternative auto-injectors are the same containing medication – epinephrine,” confirmed Dr. Bassett.

Dr. Bassett says families using alternatives should familiarize themselves with the different application process.

Pfizer expects the EpiPen to be more readily available between October and December.

Visit the FDA website to the EpiPen expiration date extension and other drugs approved for extended expiration dates.

By KENNETH CRAIG, CBS, NEW YORK