Bendigo pharmacies report shortage of EpiPen allergy medication

File image of the EpiPen. Picture: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
File image of the EpiPen. Picture: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

PHARMACISTS have urged people with medication for acute allergic reactions to check their supplies after a stock shortage.

Bendigo pharmacies are reporting limited supplies of EpiPens, both in the adult and junior ranges.

The medication comes in the form of an auto-injector, in the event of a severe allergic reaction.

“Pharmacies don’t always stock it,” pharmacist Eleasa Storey, of Bendigo Day and Night Pharmacy, said.

“We tend to order them if we need them for people.”

By ordering EpiPens as needed, she said pharmacists sought to give people a product with the best available expiry date.

“We don’t get a say on the expiry date [of the product] that comes in,” pharmacist Nicholas Standen, of Healthworks Pharmacy, said.

“We sometimes get stock that has less than a year on it.”

The imminent expiry of a batch of EpiPens is believed to have contributed to the stock shortage.

Pharmacist Tegan Ward, of UFS Pharmacies, said the product was being re-manufactured.

She encouraged anybody with an EpiPen to check it was still in date, and to contact their pharmacy if they were concerned about availability.

Supplies are expected to be replenished within weeks, but Ms Ward said some Bendigo pharmacies still had EpiPens in stock.

Mylan Australia, the manufacturer, is offering patients in need of an EpiPen Jr before the month’s end a free product.

The free EpiPen Jr is part of a batch expiring on November 30.

“This is a temporary solution until regular supply returns to the Australian market,” Mylan said in a statement.

“Patients will need to return to their pharmacy to replace the EpiPen Jr at the end of November.

“We expect stock with a later expiry to be available mid-to-late November.”

Mylan said people should contact their pharmacy for supply.

Urgent medical assistance is required to treat anaphylaxis, even if an EpiPen has been administered.