EpiPen shortage expected to grow as students head to school

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Fox Valley, Wis. (WBAY-TV) An EpiPen shortage is expected to grow as students start heading back to school.

It's creating concerns about kids being without an emergency treatment for allergic reactions while in class.

"Epineferan has been on shortage for the past six months," said Nic Smith, Owner of Smith's Pharmacy in Little Chute.

Smith Pharmacy says it only has five EpiPens on hand.

Thursday, the FDA approved a generic version of the allergy shot, but the pharmacy doesn't see that making a dramatic difference.

"Two generic manufactures, there's one brand name manufacturer, one of the generics is made by the brand name company," Smith said. "So that contributes to the problem because there's really only two sources of the product."

CVS says it doesn't have a shortage, but stores could be temporarily out of stock.

"We encourage patients to call their local pharmacy ahead of time to ensure they have the medication they need, as supplies vary from store to store," said Amy Lanctot of CVS Health.

Ascension Medical Group pediatrician Sarah Campbell says pharmacies have different supplies so availability will vary.

"As a consumer in healthcare it's important to do your due diligence and to call your different pharmacies," said Campell.

Her message to parents: using an expired EpiPen if supplies are out is better than nothing and check with schools as they may carry some.

"We still obviously need to have it but is that a backup, is that a safety net that some schools have," Campbell said. "Like I said it doesn't replace parents having it, but its good to know if it is available."