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Mom's EpiPen panic

Wasp season is in full swing and back to school is just around the corner, and for parents of children with severe allergies it can be a stressful time of year.

Parents with children with severe allergic reactions to things like peanut butter or insect stings are making a beeline for the pharmacy, but they are not always finding the help they need.

There is an Epipen shortage in Canada after the maker Pfizer announced months ago that it was experiencing a manufacturing problem.

"We have seen lots of moms coming into the pharmacy looking for alternatives," said Ande Otmayr from Vernon Canada Safeway. "Myself and other pharmacists have ordered in epinephrine, that drug that is in the Epipen, it's possible to draw that into the proper syringe and give an inter-muscular shot, like a flu shot, the question is whether parents or teachers will want to use epinephrine without the ease of the device. I have looked into the stability of epinephrine once it's pre-drawn and it should be stable in the few months range."

Some relief could be in sight as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it was granting another company the rights to make a generic EpiPen that's compatible with those on the market.

The U.S. patent holder Mylan has increased prices 500 per cent in the past nine years, now charging $600 US for a multi-pack and $300 for a single injector.

The hike resulted in a public backlash and the licensing of Mylan rival Teva to produce the new generic EpiPen. Pfizer, which is licensed by Mylan, doesn't plan to hike prices for a single dose when its available cost is about $120 Cdn., depending on dispensing fees.

The Health Canada notice on the EpiPen shortage can be found here.



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