Canada may run out of life-saving EpiPens

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canadians susceptible to life-threatening allergies may be in jeopardy Tuesday as Canada’s supply of EpiPen injectors that deliver an antidote are in short supply.

Health Canada issued a statement saying EpiPens are in “very limited supply” and the adult dose could be unavailable until the end of August, Pfizer Canada said.

Anaphylaxis reaction can be caused by allergic intolerance, most commonly to insect bites, food and latex. It can quickly cause death unless treated because the body goes into anaphylactic shock, resulting in the depletion of blood and oxygen to major organs.

The shortage of the life-saving EpiPens is due to manufacturing delays, Pfizer Canada said, not unusual because the pens have a short expiry date, about a month.

“We understand and regret the challenges this situation continues to pose to patients,” the company said. “Stock was scheduled to be shipped in early August and is currently being inspected which has caused a delay.”

The EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. for children deliver epinephrine to patients who are susceptible to anaphylactic shock. It is the only apparatus in Canada capable of injecting the antidote.

EpiPens are available in Canada at pharmacies and can be purchased without a prescription. The cost is about $100, and is free through many health insurance plans.

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