The Anaphylaxis Campaign has been advocating to the Department of Health, the pharmaceutical industry and other key stakeholders how the supply constraints of adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) is affecting people in the UK. We are continuing to raise with them the need for people living with severe allergies to have access to adrenaline auto-injectors and informing them about issues and queries that you are raising through our national helpline.
There is a team within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) which deals specifically with medicine supply problems, both in the community and hospitals. It works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise.
We have received the following statement from the Department of Health about the current situation:
“We are sorry to hear of the issues your members have been experiencing in obtaining supplies of adrenaline auto-injectors. We are in contact with Mylan UK, the manufacturer of EpiPen® regarding the issue and have been working closely with Mylan and other stakeholders to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. The issue has been caused by manufacturing delays from Mylan’s contract manufacturer, Meridian Medical Technologies, a Pfizer company and is affecting countries globally. Stock of EpiPen® 0.3mg adrenaline auto-injectors is currently available, although limited, and restrictions are in place to manage the available supplies. Stock of EpiPen Jr® 0.15mg adrenaline auto-injectors is unaffected and there are sufficient supplies available. We are continuing to work with Mylan to understand the longer-term forecast.
Within the UK there are two alternative adrenaline auto-injector devices available, Jext ® and Emerade®. However, EpiPen® is used by the majority of patients. We are in contact with the manufacturers of these alternative devices to keep them updated on the situation and ensure the continuity of supply of these devices during this time. They are both working to expedite future deliveries and bring additional stock to the UK where possible. We will be continuing to collaborate with these suppliers throughout this time.
We will continue to monitor this situation and remain in close contact with all stakeholders to help resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
We will continue to contact the Department of Health and distributors of adrenaline auto-injectors for updates, so we can keep you informed as new information becomes available.
To help us continue to advocate about this issue; we also encourage you to tell the customer services department of the distributor of your adrenaline auto-injector device about your situation, so they can respond to you directly, and to help keep this issue in the forefront until it is resolved.
Do continue to always carry your AAIs with you and follow your usual risk management techniques to avoid your allergen and reduce the likelihood that you will experience a severe allergic reaction and need to use your adrenaline. If you are prescribed AAIs, to be well equipped during this time, we advise you to
- Check the expiry date on your medication regularly; remember that the expiry date refers to the end of the month. For example, if your device expires in October, it remains not expired until 31st October.
- If needed, get a repeat prescription from your GP well in advance.
- Do not dispose of any ‘expired’ AAI devices before you have a new AAI prescription; if the liquid in your device is not cloudy or discoloured, it can still be used in an emergency.
- If your local pharmacy does not have any auto-injectors in stock when you visit, please ask them if they have contacted their supplier with information about your prescription to order more. Mylan are maintaining a stock management process for the distribution of EpiPen® 0.3mg Adrenaline Auto-Injectors and currently pharmacies are allocated EpiPen® 0.3mg on a prescription-only basis.
- If necessary, revisit your GP to ask if they can prescribe an alternative medication
- If you are prescribed an alternative AAI device, ensure that you know how to use it and train others that may need to use it in an emergency.
Raising to our attention issues you are experiencing in your local areas also equips us to have informed conversations with key stakeholders. You can contact our helpline and information team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 542 029 for support between Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.