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EpiPens are in short supply across the country, Health Canada announced in a news release last week.
The shortage of the epinephrine auto-injectors is due to “disruption of the manufacture of the drug,” according to a report from Drug Shortages Canada.
Pfizer, the company that manufactures the drug in the pens, says it anticipates the next shipment sometime in late August.
Sutherland’s Drugs in Yellowknife just recently ran out of EpiPens, says pharmacist Aaron LaBorde.
“Until the last two weeks, we were able to just order a small amount at a time,” says LaBorde. “Right now we’re completely out and I can’t get any regular EpiPens.”
He says a few people have come into the pharmacy looking to buy them over the last few weeks and left empty handed.
“There’s been nobody that’s been upset or in an emergency situation where they need one, but it is an inconvenience to have to wait for a period of time,” he says.
The company says it does not expect to be able to provide a new supply of EpiPens until the end of the month. In the meantime, LaBorde says, people can continue to use what they have.
“People should just keep what they’ve got at home,” he says.
“If they’ve got one that’s expired, keep that around and they can still use that. As of right now, that’s kind of the option. The ones that they say expire at whatever date, it’s the end of the month always of the month that they list on there. And that doesn’t mean it’s not going to work after that date, it will still work. You just start to lose potency after a period of time after that.”
There is also epinephrine in a vial that a person could take and draw up with a syringe and inject if they were in a very desperate situation as well, he says.
LaBorde says people should also check in with their local pharmacy to find out when they restock.
“If there’s people that are looking for them, the best course of action is usually to just contact the pharmacy,” says LaBorde. “That’s a good resource, to just check in and see when they’re available, or when they’re expected to be available. “