US shortage of EpiPens leads to extension of pharmacy expiration date at Europe bases
By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 28, 2018
Note: This article has been corrected.
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The U.S. Army health command in Europe recently authorized a six-month extension on the pharmacy label expiration date of EpiPens at schools and services on overseas military bases, due to a U.S. shortage of the lifesaving epinephrine drug.
Army military treatment facilities must prescribe U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved EpiPens, and are unable to purchase European EpiPens, Regional Health Command Europe said in a statement.
The extension allows Defense Department schools, and Child and Youth Services programs to continue storing EpiPens that are still valid according to the manufacturer's expiration date, but have an expired prescription, which expires after one year.
“We have a special agreement with (Child and Youth Services and base schools) regarding this pharmacy label expiration extension to meet their requirements for children’s prescriptions,” RHCE formulary manager Matthew Nguyen said in a statement.
The extension applies only to the pharmacy label expiration date, not the manufacturer’s expiration date of the emergency allergy medicine, Nguyen said.
EpiPens stored outside Child and Youth Services or school locations, such as at home for emergencies, may still be used until the manufacturer’s expiration date, the health command stated.
RHCE physicians recommend that patients begin trying to get replacement pens three months before they expire due to manufacturing delays.