Children will be headed back to school in just a few weeks and that means now is a great time for RTs to touch base with parents and school personnel about the ongoing problems with the availability of epinephrine injectors for the prevention of anaphylactic shock in allergic individuals.
The beginning of the school year is especially problematic because more parents are trying to acquire one of these devices before they send their children with potentially life-threatening allergies back to the classroom.
Having more devices isn’t helping
The access issues being seen with epinephrine should be eased by the greater number of products coming on the market, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
While the FDA approved the first generic version of the EpiPen in April of 2018, an article published by Bloomberg.com on July 10 suggests uneven distribution and the reluctance of insurance companies to pay for it is complicating the situation.
According to a Consumer Reports story published on July 16, Novartis has released a new type of epinephrine injector called Symjepi as well, and Walgreens is carrying the full line of another new type of injector called Auvi-Q and is making it available at no cost to consumers who have commercial insurance.
Despite these positive developments, the Consumer Reports article goes on to note that Costco, CVS, Healthwarehouse.com, and Walgreens have all said EpiPens and their generic counterparts are still on back order or in short supply.
The FDA confirms the ongoing shortage, and Bloomberg adds that the issue is being further complicated by the fact that teachers and other school personnel have not been trained to use all the new devices currently on the market.
Great graphic to share with patients, families
For more information about the different brands and types of epinephrine injectors available today, including websites and contact information for patient assistance programs, check out this graphic from the Allergy & Asthma Network.
Please share this great graphic with your patients and families who may be struggling to acquire one of these devices for their loved ones.