In the newest addition to the drug shortage list, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added EpiPen Auto-Injectors as well as generic versions of the product. Local pharmacies are looking to manufacturers every day to resupply their stock.
“What happens is we try to order a lot of these items that are on back-order daily. For example, we will work every day for a week and it’ll say that there
are zero available, and then we just happen to look the next day and there are two to three available. So, we try to order those at that point,” said Jared Thornhill, owner of Shallowater Pharmacy.
While manufacturers maintain a supply of epinephrine injectors, wholesalers are not receiving enough supply to provide adequate amounts to pharmacies, said Thornhill.
While his pharmacy still has Epinephrine Injectors, they continue to work with secondary manufacturers and physicians to make sure any customer who needs epinephrine injectors can get them.
Thornhill believed the shortage could have the biggest impact on students in school.
“If a child has an allergy, then they are required to keep an EpiPen at school. So, the schools won’t allow expired products to keep for the kids at school. Then, that causes an issue if they have to get a new one,” he said.
However, Shallowater Independent School District and Lubbock Independent School District said they will not face problems during the shortage, especially because the school year will conclude soon.
“As soon as the parents pick up the EpiPens, we will tell them, ‘Your EpiPens will expire during the summer. You might want to contact your physician and get a prescription,'” said Paulette Rozneck, the coordinator of Student Health Services for Lubbock ISD.
Both school districts only store epinephrine injectors with expiration dates past the end of the school year, so it does not become an issue for them.
“We make sure throughout the school year our EpiPens are up to date and there aren’t any expirations,” she said.
Shallowater ISD also keeps EpiPens their own supply of EpiPens in their schools in case of an emergency, they said. Lubbock ISD may consider this for their own district next year.
The FDA and EpiPen producer Mylan N.V. believe the supply shortage will be short-term.