Mylan, Pfizer coordinating with FDA to extend use of EpiPen amid shortage

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CLEVELAND – For the second time in a little more than a year Ashley Spencer, 29, survived a near deadly allergic reaction to food.

“Obviously I’m scared, more than like, I have ever been before in my life because you don’t realize how much you rely on something until you don’t have it,” said Spencer.

Spencer was recently discharged from the intensive care unit of a Pennsylvania hospital after eating strawberries at her parent’s home. Normally she said she would use an EpiPen in a crisis but this time due to a nationwide shortage of EpiPen had no access to the lifesaving medication.

“I have my dad looking in at the back of my throat and it’s fully closing,” said Spencer.

Spencer says due to the shortage of EpiPen, the medication was not inside the ambulance that responded to her family’s emergency call. The lack of the emergency medication is a problem facing pharmacies across the country including, Euclid Family Pharmacy.

“We are unable to get the generic adult version or the generic children’s version of EpiPen,” said pharmacy owner, Timothy Williams.

He said although the shortage has faded from the spotlight, it remains a huge problem for patients. Many are forced to pay for the medication which Williams says can cost $700 dollars.

“Life threatening without access to an EpiPen — a person or a child could die from anaphylactic shock in a very short time,” said Williams.

A spokesperson for Pfizer, an EpiPen manufacturer released the following statement:

“For decades physicians, EpiPen patients and their caregivers, many of whom are our own colleagues and family members, have placed their trust in Pfizer.

We share in the frustration over the fluctuating availability but, as with many sterile injectable medicines, EpiPen requires a highly complex and technical manufacturing and assembly process.

Despite our significant efforts we do anticipate further supply shortages over the coming months.

Product is routinely shipping, and we are committed to permanently resolving this availability issue as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson says both Pfizer and Mylan are working with the FDA to extend the expiration dates by four months on all lots of EpiPen. However the extension does not apply to EpiPen Jr.

The distributor of EpiPen, Mylan, is “expediting shipments” upon receipt from Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer. They ask patients to call (800) 796-9526 for additional assistance in accessing EpiPen.

Spencer first spoke with FOX 8 in May 2018, when she was saved by doctors during a Cleveland bound flight. Spencer had a severe allergic reaction to chips that forced pilots to make an emergency landing in Pittsburgh.

Click here for more on the information and the FDA new dates.

More on EpiPen, here.

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