August 22, 2018 4:29 pm

Health Canada reviewing whether to extend EpiPen expiry dates

EpiPens are a lifesaving drug, but they will be in short supply this August.


Health Canada is reviewing a recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to extend the expiry date on EpiPens by a few months.

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The FDA on Tuesday announced that it had reviewed the information provided by the EpiPen’s manufacturer, Mylan, and decided to extend the expiration date of specific lots by four months.

READ MORE: EpiPen shortage may drag into next year, says Health Canada

In a statement, the FDA said this would help to mitigate the shortages of EpiPens, which are occurring in both Canada and the U.S.

“We’re hopeful this action will ensure patients have access to this important medication and provide additional peace-of-mind to parents as the agency works with the manufacturer to increase supply,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Health Canada spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said that Health Canada is aware of the FDA notice and is working with Pfizer, which sells the drug in Canada.

“Health Canada will communicate a decision regarding the extension of the expiry date once we review the data that formed the basis of the FDA decision,” she said, though she could not provide a specific date for that decision.

The 0.3 mg EpiPen has been in short supply at Canadian pharmacies for months, though both Health Canada and Pfizer expect a shipment to arrive in late August.

Health Canada reminds people that EpiPens expire at the end of the month — so an August expiry date means it expires August 31 — and that recently-expired EpiPens can be used as a back-up if there is no other drug available.

WATCH: The shortage of EpiPens may be starting to take its toll on students. As one mother tells Caryn Lieberman, she was warned her son cannot attend school with an expired EpiPen.

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