The EpiPen can be a lifesaver in cases of extreme allergic reactions, but there is a shortage of them across the country and Illinois is being impacted.
The shortage was first reported in May, but a combination of factors, including children headed back to school, has resulted in limited availability of EpiPens across the state. Some pharmacies are down to single digits in the amount of devices they have in stock.
In response, the Food and Drug Administration has expanded expiration dates on certain auto-injectors.
Garth Reynolds with the Illinois Pharmacists Association said parents should check with their pharmacy to see if their EpiPen qualifies and they should have no concern about the potency of the drug.
“There should be no worry about using the medication at all," said Reynolds. "Not only is it not good business sense, it’s not good healthcare sense to be able to say that we’re going to put that expiration date on that last day of use. We always give ourselves a window.”
Reynolds also said the FDA recently approved a generic version of EpiPens, but neither the cost nor the purchase date has been made available yet.
The FDA sent this statement:
"Multiple factors have resulted in limited availability of EpiPen in certain areas in the U.S., including both pharmacy-level supply disruptions and a manufacturer issue. The FDA has been working closely with Mylan to understand the status of EpiPen production supply and resolve supply issues. We have also been in contact with the other manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors as well regarding their supply status. There haven’t been any recent reports of local supply disruptions. Mylan had reported intermittent manufacturing constraints, however Mylan continues to release the product and the firm has provided a number which is posted on our website to help pharmacies and patients locate EpiPens if they experience any difficulties. We posted this due to the intermittent supply disruptions Mylan had reported."