Adults and children with severe allergies are experiencing problems finding EpiPens after issues with manufacturing of the lifesaving devices, according to patients and pharmacists.
More than 400 patients in 45 states have reported difficulty filling prescriptions for Mylan NV’s allergy devices and other auto-injectors containing the active ingredient epinephrine since May 2, James Baker, chief executive officer of patient-advocacy group Food Allergy Research & Education, said in an interview.
Most patients told the group that they haven’t been able to obtain the devices at all, while others said they have had to wait several weeks to get one, Baker said. FARE developed a survey to track problems with accessing allergy-shot devices.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to tell people that are dependent on this medication nothing.”
In September, Pfizer Inc.’s Meridian Medical Technologies division, which makes the auto-injecting pens for Mylan, was warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for failing to investigate hundreds of complaints about defective EpiPens, including cases where patients were hurt or died due to faulty injectors.
Mylan told the FDA a few months ago it was experiencing intermittent supply constraints due to manufacturing delays, company spokeswoman Christine Waller said in an emailed statement. Since then, “Mylan and Pfizer have remained in close contact with FDA to provide regular updates on the inventory status,” she said.
Steven Danehy, a spokesman for Pfizer, said in a statement that as a result of new processes put in place after the FDA’s warning letter, “there has been some impact on manufacturing capacity.” He said shipments have increased in recent months and were higher than expected in April.
The FDA hadn’t added EpiPen to its list of medications in shortage as of Tuesday morning. Companies are required to report shortages to the agency.
“At this time, Mylan is reporting adequate supplies of EpiPen for the U.S. and we will continue to monitor this situation closely,” said Lauren Smith Dyer, a spokeswoman for the FDA. The agency plans to update its shortage website with resources for people looking for EpiPens, Smith Dyer said.
Mylan shares added to losses Tuesday afternoon, and were down 2.4% at 1:58 p.m. in New York. The company is scheduled to report its latest quarterly results on Wednesday.
Word of Mouth
News of the shortfall has been spreading among allergy sufferers and those who fill their prescriptions.