Regions run out of lifesaving EpiPen for chidren

WAITING FOR RESUPPLY: Illawarra Pharmacists' Association president Katerina Novarina at Navin's Pharmacy in Thirroul. Picture: Robert Peet
WAITING FOR RESUPPLY: Illawarra Pharmacists' Association president Katerina Novarina at Navin's Pharmacy in Thirroul. Picture: Robert Peet

Parents of children with severe allergies face an anxious wait as the region’s supplies of the potentially life saving adrenaline shot EpiPen Jr have run out.

Chemists across the region are reporting they are out of stock, with some having had no supply for weeks.

It a problem faced across Australia as supplies from the US manufacturer have been behind or delayed. The distributor, Mylan, has now revealed there is a method for parents to get an emergency supply of the EpiPen Jr, via their pharmacy.

EpiPens contain a single shot of epinephrine (synthesised adrenaline), which can be administered to keep a child alive if they have suffered a serious anaphylactic shock from allergies.

Austinmer mother Janine Duggan, 39, has two children with severe allergies; she relies on the EpiPen Jr in case her nine-year-old son Ronan has an anaphylactic reaction.

LIFESAVER: The adult version of the EpiPen adrenaline shot.

LIFESAVER: The adult version of the EpiPen adrenaline shot.

She had been unable to find an EpiPen Jr at numerous pharmacies across Wollongong, nor online. 

“The pharmacies weren’t able to tell me why they were out, and when they would have more,” she said.

Her story was echoed by other parents across the Illawarra who needed to replace their EpiPen Jr when it had expired.

Children are advised to use an EpiPen Jr unless they are weigh more than 30kg, the threshold for using the adult version.

When stories started emerging on Wednesday about shortages of the EpiPen Jr Ms Duggan realised the problem was nationwide.

Illawarra Pharmacist Association president Katerina Novarina said pharmacists had been advised that the problem shortages in the US, and Mylan was “hoping” to have stock here by the end of November. 

They have some EpiPen Jr that is short-dated, only until the end of November

Katerina Novarina

In an email to parents registered with the “EpiClub”, Mylan is now advising parents they can get an EpiPen Jr that will last until November 30, for free.

“They have some EpiPen Jr that is short-dated, only until the end of November,” Ms Novarina said.

She said parents need to show a proper prescription to their pharmacy, who can then contact the distributor to access the supply.

Ms Novarina said some parents had been worried about the delays, and schools were also waiting for their stock to be updated.

“It’s not ideal,” she said. 

Mylan’s phone number is 1800 274 276.