This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

GPs 'should limit' adrenaline auto-injector prescriptions amid shortage

GPs should restrict adrenaline auto-injector prescriptions due to ongoing supply issues, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

The Government alert told GPs that ‘interruptions in the supply’ of EpiPen and EpiPen Junior mean that products will be limited ‘for the remainder of 2018’.

In the memo, healthcare professionals who prescribe, dispense or administer adrenaline auto-injectors were told to ration the stocks and work with pharmacies to keep track of what is available and train patients on alternatives.

The alert said: ‘EpiPen and EpiPen Junior will be subject to limited availability for the remainder of 2018. Mylan are now out of stock of EpiPen Junior and interruptions in the supply are anticipated to continue for the coming months.’

It then told GPs that adult and child auto-injectors should only be ‘prescribed and dispensed to those who truly need them’, as additional issuing to ‘patients who are worried about the shortages’ could worsen the supply situation.

The memo said that ‘certain batches of adult EpiPen can be safely used for four months after the expiry date has passed’ and where possible ‘prescribers should not prescribe a replacement adult EpiPen whilst the original is within the extended use by date’.

It added that ‘due to ongoing constraints affecting EpiPen 300mcg and Epipen 150mcg devices’ some adults and children may need to ‘switch from their usual device to other alternative adrenaline auto-injector devices’ that may be more readily available.

Prescribers were asked to ‘work in close collaboration with their local pharmacies to understand which devices are available’ and ensure patients who are switched to an alternative device are trained appropriately.

Schools previously asked GPs to indemnify their use of emergency adrenaline auto-injectors for allergies against all claims, a request which LMCs warned GPs not to comply with.


Readers' comments (8)

  • When did this become our job? I remember being told to prescribe generically for years and now expected to switch things constantly. Is a matter for NHS England and the pharmacies ideally.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • why don't NHS England tell this to patient on a televised advert?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So if you refuse and the patient dies....Gross Negligence Manslaughter for you. Once again, blame the doctor for even manufacturing problems.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Refuse and enjoy services of HMP for manslaughter charges for hahaha manufacturing issues. Better that the Department sends out letter to all users and accept responsbility. Alternatively they send out letters to all GP and accept responsilbilty so if anything happens adversely we can send the claims to them.Such sorry state of NHS could not be imagined before.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Supply is not our problem sort it NHSE and HMG.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Those that “truly need them” what are they on about? They’re given for people at risk of anaphylaxis! Prescribe as usual and let the pharmacy sort it out.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • nothing to do with me. if asked I will prescribe it full stop

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We could always train the patients in the alternatives - ie death. they're cheaper once they're dead.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say