OTTAWA – Following Health Canada’s most recent communication regarding a shortage of EpiPen (0.3 mg) and EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) auto-injectors, Pfizer Canada has advised Health Canada that supply of EpiPen in the 0.3 mg format is expected to be very limited at pharmacies during the month of August.
This means that while some pharmacies may currently have some inventory on-hand, it will likely be depleted in the coming days or weeks. Pfizer Canada does not expect to be able to provide new supply until the end of August.
The company has also advised that, at this time, they continue to be able to supply EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg); however, the supply is limited and is being carefully managed at the national level.
EpiPen and EpiPen Jr are used to deliver an emergency treatment of adrenaline (epinephrine) to patients who are at risk or have a history of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). There are currently no alternative auto-injectors available on the market in Canada.
Health Canada reminds Canadians that EpiPen products expire on the last day of the month indicated on the package. For example, products with an August expiry date do not expire until August 31.
In light of the shortage, if you are experiencing an anaphylactic reaction and have only an expired auto-injector, use the expired product and immediately contact 911. Regardless of whether the product is expired, you should get to the nearest hospital as soon as possible following the administration of the product, as instructed in the product labelling.
Pfizer Canada informed Health Canada that the current shortage is due to a manufacturing issue with the EpiPen 0.3 mg format. Pfizer Canada is asking healthcare professionals to help manage the supply and pharmacists to keep this current supply situation in mind when dispensing EpiPen (0.3 mg) and EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg).
Health Canada continues to work closely with the company, the provinces and territories and stakeholders to help minimize the impact of this shortage on Canadians.
“We understand the stress that a shortage of a necessary medication can place on patients, families and the health system. We are exploring every option available to the Department with the goal of resolving the situation as soon as possible.”
Canadians are encouraged to visit drugshortagescanada.ca or contact Pfizer Canada directly for up-to-date information about the shortage and estimated re-supply dates. Patients with questions or concerns about the shortage may also wish to speak to their health care professional.