The timing couldn’t be worse for the 2018 EpiPen shortage: Allergy families who have summer travel plans need additional epinephrine injectors while they’re on the go AND summer camp staffers need up-to-date injectors in case children they’re watching need medical attention. I’ll walk you through what medical experts recommend, plus share my experience with an EpiPen alternative that’s cost us $0 out-of-pocket as a food allergy family.
What caused the 2018 EpiPen shortage?
The FDA says Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the Epipen provider, alerted the government about the shortage a few months ago. A Pfizer medical company makes the life-saving epinephrine pens for folks with food or bug bite allergies. Pfizer blames delays at the manufacturing company for the EpiPen shortage.
What can you do about the EpiPen Shortage?
Look at the expiration date of your EpiPen.
As soon as you’re done reading this blog post, check the expiration date of your EpiPen or auto-injector.
If your EpiPen expires in the next few months, contact your doctor and pharmacy about renewing your prescription. Take into account that it may take longer than expected to renew, so be prepared for delays.
Call Mylan Pharmaceuticals.
You can reach its customer relations department at 800-796-9526 for assistance, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.
Order an EpiPen alternative.
After the 2016 EpiPen price hike where the price for two pens escalated to hundreds of dollars, our family switched back to using the Auvi-Q auto-injector for A.J.’s emergency allergy needs. In fact, I was so outspoken about the EpiPen price hike and Mylan Pharmaceuticals profits that I was featured on CBS News.
Some people may remember that the Auvi-Q pen was recalled in 2015, but was updated and re-released in 2017 at no out-of-pocket cost for most users. In case you’ve never used Auvi-Q, here’s a break down of the some of the ways it’s different from the more popular EpiPen.
Auvi-Q pens are available through kaléo Pharmaceuticals. As of May 10, 2018, there is NO shortage of Auvi-Q. Here is a statement from Spencer Williamson, President/CEO of kaléo.
“We understand how critically important it is for those affected by life-threatening allergies to be able to access an epinephrine auto-injector. Kaléo is able to fill, and is filling, all the AUVI-Q® (epinephrine injection, USP) order requests through our Direct Delivery service at www.auvi-q.com. It’s important to note that patients must obtain AUVI-Q through the direct delivery service to ensure delivery to their home or healthcare provider’s office and the best expiration dating for AUVI-Q. Kaléo ensures patients with commercial insurance, or those without commercial or government insurance who have a household income lower than $100,000, can access AUVI-Q for $0 out-of-pocket.”
Besides the $0 out-of-pocket costs for the Auvi-Q pen, our family prefers it because it’s smaller and easier to carry around. For example, my husband can fit it in his pocket.
Here’s how to request that your physician complete the Auvi-Q patient enrollment form. Don’t be alarmed by the request to fax it. Our pediatrician handles sending it via fax, then you wait for the Auvi-Q delivery directly to your house.
No waiting in line at the pharmacy. Call 1-877-30-AUVIQ if you have questions.
Once you order Auvi-Q the first time via the form, we’ve been able to call-in our renewals.
Man, Mylan is full of trouble. I followed your original post about the Auvi and it seems like a no brainer option. I won’t even call it a substitute!
It is such a bad stateof affairs when necessary medication is either overpriced or unavailable. This is a very dangerous situation, hopefully competitive companies can lead to a solution.
Oh no I have to admit I had no idea there was a shortage but that isn’t good at all for people who need them, I am glad there are ways to hopefully cope with it.
I didn’t know about this. It must be serious for you to write about it. No one I know uses one. Well, I hope everything works out, bc I do know these pens are very needed to some.
I didn’t realize how severe of a problem the shortage was! And I know so many people who depend on the EpiPen!
Eeek, I didn’t know there was a shortage. My husband is allergic to bees, so I am glad to hear that Auvi-Q is a great alternative. I’ll tell my husband about it and have him request that at the doctor soon.
Thank you for your informative post. I appreciate you taking the time to write about the epi-pen shortage. I think it is great to know you should call ahead to your provider if your epi-pen is going to need to be refilled/renewed so you have time before you have to have it.
Thank you so much for this reminder! I’ll pass this along to friends who are using EpiPen.
How horrible it would be to run out of allergy medication! My husband has severe pollen allergy and it is during this time of year that his allergies are the worst. I will check the expiration date on his pen. I think switching to Auvi Q would be a better option because if it being readily available.
This is such an important post to take note of especially for families that need this. It’s not easy to deal with a shortage like this because it’s something that you use for your health. It’s good to know what steps to take.
First the price of Epipens increases and now a shortage? What is going on? I haven’t renewed mine in a few years, but thank you for listing alternatives.
So informative!I am going to share this with a friend who was just discussing the shortage.
I didn’t realize that there was still a shortage. I’m going to have a look at ours just to be on the safe side.
I had no idea, we are still fairly new to food allergies. My heart raced as I read this. We have a twin pack that expires in August. I do like the smaller compact version.
OMG! This hurts me to read. I know that your son needs these things to live in case of an emergency. Being in a similar situation, with needing outside devices to help my life run smoother, this is horrible. Thanks for shedding some light. Hopefully, they will start making more soon
Oh wow this terrible. I don’t use an EpiPen but I will share with those in my circle who do in case they are unaware. Thanks!
When I was in AmeriCorps I had to learn how to use an Epipen. We use to keep one in our first aid kit and take it everywhere we went. I can also relate to this post because I have a daughter who is type 1 diabetes and her meds expire after a year so I can’t hoard her insulin or test strips because they won’t work. Healthcare is expensive.
I remember when I was in AmeriCorps I had to learn how to use an Epipen. We use to keep one in our first aid kit and take it everywhere we went. I can also relate to this post because I have a daughter who is type 1 diabetes and her meds expire after a year so I can’t hoard her insulin or test strips because they won’t work. Healthcare is expensive.
Wow great information about the epipen. I am glad it is more travel friendly for you and the family for emergencies.
I heard about the shortage but I didn’t realize it was that bad! I’m glad there’s an alternative! Thankfully we don’t need one in my house but I do know a few people who use the Epi pen so I’m going to pass this info to them!