Mums concern as her daughter’s life-saving EpiPen goes out of date amid shortage

Josie O'Hagan
Josie O'Hagan

The mum of a five-year-old with a severe nut allergy has voiced concern about the shortage of EpiPens.

Little Josie O’Hagan was diagnosed at just one year old as suffering from allergies and has been prescribed an EpiPen since she was 16 months old.

Her mum Paula said little Josie’s life could be saved by the EpiPen should she go into anaphylactic shock due to her allergies.

She explained that Josie’s school, St Francis Primary School in Lurgan has two EpiPens as recommended and there are two others in a EpiPen bag that goes everywhere else with Josie.

Paula said the pens can be affected by excess heat or cold and it is important to have a back up. However one of the pens, which are medically prescribed, has gone out of date.

She paid tribute to her pharmacist in Legahory, Craigavon who has gone out of their way to try and locate another EpiPen.

Paula, who has to check every item of food before giving it to Josie, said they have had trouble getting another EpiPen due to a shortage.

The Department of Health said: “We are aware of an ongoing issue with intermittent supply constraints of EpiPen® 0.3mg and EpiPen® Jr 0.15mg Adrenaline Auto-Injectors due to manufacturing delays.

It is unable to make any specific treatment recommendation to individual patients but would advise that there are two alternative adrenaline auto-injector products available in the UK. Patients who are concerned about the current supply constraints of EpiPens® should speak to their GP practice regarding the possibility of alternative treatments.

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is actively monitoring the availability of all Adrenaline Auto-Injectors in conjunction with wholesalers, and has issued advice to prescribers and community pharmacies in Northern Ireland.

“Officials are in contact with colleagues in London (DHSC) who are in regular dialogue with the supplier of EpiPen®. The DHSC has advised that they will be working closely with all manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Anaphylaxis UK and other stakeholders to seek to address the supply constraints as appropriate.

“Patients are also advised to retain their current EpiPens® until a new supply can be obtained.”