EpiPen shortage has W. Va. families concerned

West Virginia News
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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)- – Hundreds of men, women and children with life-threatening allergies, cannot get their EpiPen prescription filled. The FDA has declared a shortage of Mylan EpiPens and it’s generic version, citing manufacturing delays.

This EpiPen shortage is impacting allergy sufferers across the country, but here in West Virginia it’s already been a problem for about four weeks. 13 News sat down with a Charleston mom whose two children rely on EpiPens in case of an emergency.

“I could have a reaction today and I might not make it through. That’s just not something any child should have to think about,” Kimberly Earl todl 13 News.

Earl says it’s a scary reality for many kids. Right now some pharmacies simply don’t have any EpiPens in stock, because of a manufacturing issue at Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

“If I have to send my child out the door without epinephrine or with a pen that we aren’t 100% sure is going to work, that’s a scary thing for that kid to walk out the door knowing,” Earl explained.

But there is good news, two other companies make an epinephrine device AUVI-Q and Adrenaclick.

Earl said she was able to work with her doctor and insurance company to get a different injector.

“For us we were able to find out what was available and what would work best for us. And then go through the insurance company and see what we could get paid for,” Earl added

But these devices are different than EpiPens, so it means retraining her children and teachers on how to use the device. The other problem- some insurance companies don’t cover these other brands.

“It’s frustrating as a pharmacist that I can’t treat the patient when they need it right now. Most of the time, these are patients that come into the doctor because they’ve had a severe allergic reaction. Now they’re scared,” Dr. Jim Graham said.

Mylan is encouraging patients to call their customer relations line if they need help finding a pharmacy with EpiPens in stock.

This week also happens to be Food Allergy Awareness Week. Governor Jim Justice has issued a proclamation for this week in West Virginia. Earl says she’s happy to see the administration paying attention to an issue that’s so close to home for many West Virginia families.

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