Canadian EpiPen shortage relieved by U.S. alternative

OTTAWA—The federal government says an alternative to EpiPens will be available next month for Canadians with life-threatening allergies.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says she has signed an interim order to allow the U.S.-approved Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors to be imported into Canada.

Both EpiPen and Auvi-Q deliver the same labelled dose of epinephrine, however, unlike EpiPen, Auvi-Q has a retractable needle as well as an electronic voice instruction system.
Both EpiPen and Auvi-Q deliver the same labelled dose of epinephrine, however, unlike EpiPen, Auvi-Q has a retractable needle as well as an electronic voice instruction system.  (Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press)

The order is effective for two weeks while approval is sought to extend the order for up to one year.

Canada has been experiencing shortages of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. auto-injectors for the past several months. Pfizer Canada has said that it has resumed shipments of EpiPen but that the supply of both EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. continues to be limited while it works to return supply to normal levels.

Auvi-Q, made by Kaleo, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Both EpiPen and Auvi-Q deliver the same labelled dose of epinephrine, however, unlike EpiPen, Auvi-Q has a retractable needle as well as an electronic voice instruction system.

Auvi-Q 0.3 mg is expected to be available for pharmacies to order by the end of the week and in pharmacies as of Sept. 7.

Auvi-Q 0.15 mg may be made available by Kaleo under the interim order in future, depending on need and product availability.

Health Canada says Auvi-Q does not include French labelling and instructions.

An English and French instruction sheet for consumers will be provided with the Auvi-Q product at the time of sale to help ensure that patients and caregivers administer the drug safely and effectively, it said Wednesday in a release.

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