Monday 26 September 2016

Pharmacies run short of EpiPens for allergic reactions

Published 08/09/2015 | 02:30

Emma Sloan (14) who died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant
Emma Sloan (14) who died after having an allergic reaction to a peanut sauce she had in a restaurant

Pharmacies have run short of life-saving injections which are needed to save people who suffer deadly allergic reactions to foods such as peanuts.

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There is a shortage of adult EpiPens which treat life-threatening anaphylaxis, delivering the antidote adrenaline.

The delivery of flu vaccines is hitting the supply of the auto injectors.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Pharmacy Union said it had brought pharmacies' concerns to the Department of Health. And the department said yesterday the shortage is an issue for the HSE.

It comes as plans get under way to make EpiPens more readily available in areas such as schools, sports grounds and restaurants for the first time. Currently, they are only available on prescription.

However, the death of Emma Sloan (14), on O'Connell Street in Dublin in 2013, highlighted the need to increase their availability. Emma, who did not have her EpiPen with her, reacted to peanuts in a Chinese sauce.

A pharmacy refused a request for an EpiPen because a prescription was needed. Her mother Caroline has led a campaign for them to be widely available. It will be necessary to have people trained in the use of the EpiPens where they are stored in case of emergency.

A spokeswoman for the Health Products Regulatory Agency yesterday said pharmacies will get fresh stocks in the coming days.

It has secured supplies for Ireland, which were due to go to other countries on a number of occasions.

Irish Independent

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