What to Do If You Cannot Find the EpiPen When Your Child Returns to School

On my list of things to do before my daughter goes to kindergarten next week (sobbing!) Are four EpiPens: one for classroom storage, one for after-school curriculum, one to throw in her bag, and one for my husband. It’s kind of a hassle to get a fresh supply every 18 months , but a baby is allergic to peanuts and a regular adrenaline autoinjector could save her life. Fortunately, they are available at my pharmacy. Many retailers don’t.

The widespread drug shortage across the country is making parents (rightly) nervous. Shortages due to production delays have been a problem for several months, but becomes even more severe during the school season. This week, the FDA approved the first generic version of EpiPen – a triumph since the options are so limited – although the launch date is unclear (a spokesman for retailer Teva Pharmaceuticals USA told The Washington Post that it will arrive “in the coming months”). … Families need auto injectors now. If you still can’t find it, here’s what you can do:

  • Call your local CVS, Costco, and Walgreens stores. These retailers confirmed to Consumer Reports this summer that they may have a limited supply.
  • Ask Milan for help. You can call the manufacturer’s customer service for assistance locating a pharmacy with devices in stock. Representatives are available by calling 800-796-9526 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.
  • Consider an alternative. Adrenaclick is a cheaper alternative to EpiPen, but its manufacturer is also struggling to meet demand. However, it is worth calling your pharmacy to see if this is possible. Another auto-injector not hit by a shortage is the well-known overpriced Auvi-Q. The CEO of the manufacturer Kaléo said the company is working to keep personal expenses low – there is a co-payment program for those whose insurance does not cover drugs. If you do use one of the alternatives, make sure the staff at your child’s school knows how to use it. In an emergency, the last thing you need is for the teacher to read the instructions.
  • Notify your child’s school. If you know EpiPen will be delayed, see if your child’s school has its own stash to keep close at hand (my daughter’s preschool does). Also, it is better to use an expired EpiPen than no EpiPen. One study found that EpiPens were still effective four years after their expiration date . However, Milan states that the expiration date is the last day a medicine is “safe and effective,” so use this option only as a last resort.


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