Pfizer Canada has advised Health Canada that EpiPen 0.3 mg (DIN 00509558) is currently in shortage and that EpiPen Jr (0.15 mg) (DIN 00578657) is expected to be in shortage as of April 13, 2018.
A shortage does not necessarily mean that there is no supply available in pharmacies. At this time, the company has indicated that limited inventory of both products remains available and is being carefully managed nationally.
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.
Pfizer is reporting that the current supply constraints are due to delays at the manufacturing facility.
Health Canada is reminding patients and caregivers that EpiPen products expire on the last day of the month indicated on the product packaging. For example, if the product is marked as expiring in January, it remains valid (not expired) until January 31.
In general, it is recommended that you have more than one auto-injector with different expiry dates to avoid having only an expired auto-injector. However, in this shortage situation, 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.
Canadians are encouraged to visit drugshortagescanada.ca or contact Pfizer 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.
The health and safety of Canadians is Health Canada’s top priority. We are working closely with the company, the provinces and territories as well as stakeholders to coordinate information-sharing and to help minimize the impact of this shortage on Canadians.