EpiPen expiration dates

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I'm curious to find out if anyone else has this problem, if it's unique, if it's just geographically or if this is just the way it is.

My son's EpiPens are due to expire the end of this month, so I got a new prescription from his allergist yesterday. I spent over an hour on the phone yesterday and another hour on the phone today calling pharmacies looking for the best expiration dates. The best I could find is Jan. 2002. I've always been able to get at least a year in the past, but I'm not having that luck this time. Some pharmacies I called actually had EpiPens due to expire in Sept. and Oct. Does anyone else have this problem too and is this just the way it is? I have a friend/neighbor who works in a pharmacy and she told me they can't order EpiPens with specific expiration dates. Basically they get what they get. I wish I could at least get ones with a year date on them. This is such a hassle everytime I renew. Not to mention, my insurance only allows me to get one at a time so I have to make four trips in four days to the pharmacy to get them all.

On Apr 3, 2001

I left the allergist in February armed with an EpiPen Jr. prescription and instructions to call around to find the latest expiration dates that I could. (I'm so glad the allergist told me that; it never would have occurred to me on my own.) I called 8 pharmacies and the latest expiration I found was Jan 2002, with 6 of the 8 pharmacies having latest expiration of Oct 2001. (Whoops, I just came back and edited this--originally I said Oct 2002 but I meant Oct 2001!)

When I finally did purchase the pens, I made a comment to the pharmacist about how the allergist had told me to look for pens with over a year to go, and the pharmacist said that their stock of EpiPens is always lowest in the Winter. (Keep in mind here that I live in New England... I'm sure this will vary by climate.) He said their "rush" on EpiPens happens in late Spring/early Summer for people who are anaphylactic to insect bites! I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what he said. He claims they always have fresher EpiPens starting in May/June.

Miriam

[This message has been edited by Mir (edited April 03, 2001).]

On Apr 3, 2001

I had the same exact experience last week, here in the Chicago area. I finally found two in-stock epi-pens with an April '02 expiration date, which I took, and I asked the pharmacy to order new ones, hoping that they will have longer shelf life. The others, which I rejected (ours expire at the end of this month, so I figured I'd at least try to get better dates first) were also January '02. Our last batch was at least an 18 month shelf life - what's up? Maybe we should talk directly to the manufacturer.

------------------

[This message has been edited by Yonit (edited April 03, 2001).]

On Apr 3, 2001

We had the same experience recently. Same story from the pharmacist also. At $15.00 each (our co-pay) it can add up quickly in one year! Somewhere I heard the EpiPen should have a two year shelf life??? I think I'll call the company.

------------------ Peanut/Nut-free wishes, Victoria

On Apr 3, 2001

Hi again, I called Dey and a very pleasant "Janine" (sp) returned my call almost immediately. I asked about getting an EpiPen trainer, she's sending me 2 FREE! Then she asked if I had a child who would be using the EpiPen. When I said yes, she said she would also be sending me a video for him!! Then I questioned her about the Pens not even lasting a year. She seemed very concerned. She asked if I asked the pharmacist for a later dated one and I told her the pharmacist said they get what they get. (Can you tell by these lovely sentences that my three little ones are right here with me?) She informed me that she would be checking into this and "would definitely be getting back" to me. I'll keep you posted.

------------------ Peanut/Nut-free wishes, Victoria

On Apr 3, 2001

I have had the same problem and it can't be climate related. In Washington State, I had no problems getting them with over a year up to two years before the date is expired. However, I live in Florida now, I got my prescription filled, and the first one was good for over a year, the other three were only good for a month. I demanded they find the other three for the 1 year date. It took a few weeks, but they did find them. I know they weren't happy, but I was persistent and did get the ones I wanted. Now I have another prescription for this year, for 6 epi-pens jrs. This ought to be a load of fun to take care of. The pharmacy I used in Florida is Walgreens. I will be looking at other pharmacys first and see how many they have available. I am feeling like quite a witch lets say. When it comes to my kids health I will not stop until I am satisfied with the results. Hope everyone is having better luck. Alot of this could be from the recall on all epi-pens about 2 1/2 years ago. It was horrible and took several months to get a good supply going again. At that time I was calling the FDA alot. Cindy

On Apr 3, 2001

I've run into this problem before. It seems as though they make "batches" and don't make more until they need them.

**Tip for co-pays - My allergist writes one prescription for 2 epi-pens, and I only get charged 1 co-pay. Rachel

On Apr 3, 2001

I guess it makes me feel a little better to know I'm not alone in my quest. I never thought about the "spring" rush for bee stings.

Victoria, I called Dey too and I'm waiting on a return call. I'm curious as to what they'll tell me.

Rae, as far as copays go, it doesn't matter how the prescription is written, it's all up to how your insurance policy is written. I get one prescription with four Pens prescribed, but my insurance only allows me to get one at a time. The other ones are given to me as refills. Doesn't make any sense to me at all. I've even offered to pay the $20 copay for each at one time, but it has something to do with the way the computer system is programmed. That's why I have to go four days in a row to get four Pens. Of course, if I wanted to pay for each one in full myself, I would have no problem.

On Apr 3, 2001

Well, I got my return call from Dey. Spoke to the representative that handles my state (MO). She really couldn't help me, but recommended I call my doctor. She said maybe he could "talk" to the pharmacy. At this point I'm not sure if that will help, but it certainly won't hurt to ask. Also, she strongly urged to never take an EpiPen with less than a year expiration date. She didn't know however how long the expiration date was on the Pens that were shipped out to their suppliers. It would be nice to know that, because then you would have an idea of how "old" an EpiPen really was. Needless to say, I'll be making more phone calls tomorrow.

On Apr 3, 2001

I have been experiencing the same frustrations that everyone else has. A few months ago, I ordered an epipen and noticed the expiration date wasn't as long as usual. I thought the shelf life was 18 months and the pharmacist said that it is closer to one year. Then last week I went to get another epipen which expires in January 2002. Again, I questioned why the epipen had such a short life. Of course, the pharmacist couldn't answer that. He told me that particular epipen arrived that day. I told him I wanted to wait until another arrived but he said they are only ordered when the others are all gone. I feel like we are at their mercy. Please keep us posted if you find anything else out.

On Apr 3, 2001

We have had great success with our local Target pharmacy. If the Epi-pens they have in stock have an expiration date that's not satisfactory to me (less than 1 year away) they will order & re-order until they get Epi-pens with at least 1 year until expiration. They have told me that when they order they take their chances on the expiration date they get -- no way to specify ahead of time.

I will also say that it really seems to help to have a long-standing, good relationship with your pharmacist! Target may be a big corporation, but I find their customer service in their pharmacy to be first-rate. (And I will say that I have found the local Wal-mart pharmacy to be sooooooooooo non-customer oriented. They are always drowning in customers, so I can see what their problem is.)

EB

On Apr 4, 2001

SusanMO, Have you tried calling your insurance concerning the epi's? It seems as if the Dr. is saying you must have X amount of medication at the time of a reaction, then that is one prescription. They usually allow a 30 day supply for other meds. Also, does your plan have a mail order plan? We can get 90 day supplies for the 30 day supply co-pay. I'm sure you have looked into all of this, but just in case! Insurances can be such pains! Rachel

On Apr 4, 2001

Hi,

I had posted the following a while back under another EpiPen topic - our problems seem to be continueing on this date problem [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

*************************** Hi, I also posted this under the subject "EpiPen" so you may have already seen this.

Let me start by saying I THINK I HAVE THIS UNDER CONTROL.

Yesterday I stopped in at the Walgreens Pharmacy to see how many of the EpiPen Jr shots they had on hand and what the expirations dates were on the pens. I need six and they had five - they can order more, which is O.K.

Well, the expiration dates were April 2000. I told them that they would need to order new ones as I need six that would not expire in two months. I was informed by the lady in the pharmacy that the pharmacist told her that because of the large quanity of EpiPens involved in the last recall the expiration date on the pens could be no more than two months out!

I told her that means that I have to buy at least 36 pens a year! I can't do it and I bet the insurance company won't do it.

I went home and called DEY labs - the lady I talked to said that there was no way that I should be getting new EpiPens with anything shorter than a six month expiration date and as a rule it was closer to a year for the normal expiration - she suggested that I contact another pharmacy.

She then said that she will contact the pharmacy and let them know that they can return those EpiPens and get new pens or get credit, but they should not dispense the EpiPens with a two month shelf life. She was so nice!!! She said she will get back to me as soon as she finds out what is going on.

I don't want this to worry anyone - as I am sure it only happened at my regular pharmacy - I will call another pharmacy tomorrow.

I just want to let you know that if I had accepted the Pens with the two month expiration date I would have been out of a lot of money!!!

Guess we not only have to spend hours reading labels, but also making phone calls on things we shouldn't have to worry about.

Sue in Sunny Arizona

***************** End of copied info ******

On Apr 5, 2001

I finally had to break down and accept the Jan 2002 EpiPens in my area. I called sooooooooo many pharmacies, some where easily an hour to 1 1/2 hours away from me. The best I could come up with was Jan. 2002. I even called hospital pharmacies, but had no luck there either.

Thank you Rae for mentioning the mail order plan. I called my insurance's mail order company, Express Scripts, and spoke to two very nice people. The first was a customer service rep. and the other was a pharmacist. Through the mail order program I could get all four EpiPens at one time, but they could not give me any information on expirations dates. They said all of their prescriptions are filled with an automated machine and there wasn't a "live" person down there to actually go look at the boxes. Go figure! The one good thing I did find out in my discussion with the customer service rep. is that my policy had changed since my last prescription and now I could get two EpiPens for one copay. That's going to save me $40!

I ended up going to the nearest pharmacy to me that not only had Jan. 2002 expiration dates, but had four in stock. This ended up being a Walgreens Pharmacy. Relieved to finally have this ordeal over with, I then had a run-in the technician who took my prescription. I explained to her that my insurance would only allow me to take two Pens today and that I would call in the refills tomorrow. (The prescription was written for four Pens.) She quickly responded saying I could not call in for the refills. When I asked why, she said.....now get this....I had to use the first two EpiPens first, then I could get the other two!!! Can you believe that??? I then told her she obviously didn't understand what these Pens were used for to which she quickly responded, "OH yes I do!" My response to her then was "If you knew what they were used for....You wouldn't have said what you just said!" After I got the eye roll, I asked to speak to the pharmacist on duty. She immediately came over and was very pleasant and polite. She told me to call back for the refill in two days. When I went back to pick my prescription, they had filled it under my husband's name! Geesh....I guess the technician not only didn't know what EpiPens were for, but she couldn't read a prescription either!

Gee.....I wonder if it will be any easier in January????

On Apr 5, 2001

I called DEY today and they told me to ot accept any Epipens with less than a year date, they should be fore 18 months. I called Walgreens today also to find out about the 6 epipens I needed to pick up. They also only had Jan. 2002, and only one in stock. I told them they can send them back for better dates or get credit for them. DEY would prefer that if they are less than a year expiration date. The pharmacist tried to convince me that they have no control over the expiration dates, I know otherwise. Also I spoke to my insurance company about getting the epipen jrs mail order and they said the expiration dates would be for longer and if there is any problems to contact their customer service at either 1-800-257-6641 or 1-888-257-6641. My insurance company seems to think we only need one a month. So I can get three every three months. So I have to do it now so I have the 6 needed for August for my daughter to start school.

On Apr 6, 2001

I wrote to ALK Abello who manufacture the EpiPens here in the UK and they were very informative. Basically, they said that they are made with a "life" of two years ! The one currently in my E-Belt was collected 6 weeks ago and it has an expiry date of 6th September 2002..... Hmmm!

------------------ Nick (PA sufferer)

On Apr 8, 2001

Well, I'm still waiting to hear from "Janine" at Dey. But I did receive my package from them as she promised. She sent me 4 Epi trainer pens, some educational pamphlets and the "Alexander Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts" video!! (Of course, I have already purchased and paid for one through FAAN. But it's the thought that counts!). If I don't hear from them by Monday afternoon, I will call them back.

------------------ Peanut/Nut-free wishes, Victoria

On May 6, 2001

After reading everyone's woes about expiry dates, I went to check my pens. The four I have all indicate expiry dates of 2 years after the purchase date. The first one I bought in May 2000 expires May 2002. Like Nick said...hmmmmmmm

On May 6, 2001

We are still trying to get epi's with far off expiration dates. Two of T's expired in March and we can't get anything over a year. I refuse to take them as we still have 3 others right now. What limits us is that there are only 3 pharmacies that we can go to and not pay up front with dh's health plan. All of them are working on it for me, they feel really bad about it . Next time at least I will know to start much earlier then the month in which they expire to try getting them replaced!

On May 7, 2001

Does any one know what happens to the adrenaline serum after the expiration date? My pharmacy, Wallgreens, says that they have no control over the expiration date. It was good to know that I can tell them they can send them back and get credit for them. I need at least 4 for my son and it is always a pain to get dates that match. Kristina Marie

On May 7, 2001

Kristina....did your Walgreens say they would send them back for credit? I know when I mentioned that to several of the pharmacies around here inlcuding Walgreens, WalMart and major grocery store chains, they were not the least bit interested. They all had the attitude that they had no control and would not reorder until what they had sold or expired. Very frustrating!

On May 10, 2001

SusanMO,

I have not purchased new pens yet this year. In the past Walgreen's has just told me they get what they get and they reorder when they run out. The dates work out if you always replace your epi pens in June b/c of the bee sting allergies and higher turn over. If you have to replace in Jan and you live in the north like I do, they have been on the shelf for quite some time. I have not had a chance to talk with Walgreen's armed with the above info from the manufacturer. I'll be finding this thread when I do, to share my experience. Kristina Marie

On May 10, 2001

wish that I had this post sooner. I just had to get 2 epi-pen, jrs. for my 4-month old daughter who we just found out has a severe milk allergy.

My PA son has 3 epi-pen jrs. that expire in November, and they were good for a year and a half. I was allowed to trade them in when they expired the first time. When I went to get epi-pens for my daughter, they were only good until January of 2002. I asked the pharmacist if I could exchange them like I did with my son, and he said no. He also told me that I wouldn't do any better than January of 2002. He was so rude that I decided to go elsewhere.

No one else had later expiring epi-pens, but one pharmacy did offer to order them for me so I was able to get epi-pen, jrs. that expire in May of 2002.

The pharmacist told my husband that the laws have changed and that pharmacies can no longer swap out expired drugs. I checked this out with my brother-in-law who works for a pharmaceutical company, and he told me that pharmacists return expired drugs all of the time for credit. So, I am not sure if the pharmacist's answer was valid.

The pharmacist also said that DEY changed the way that they manufacture their epi-pen jrs so that they don't last as long. He said that the adult-strength epi-pens are still find, and they last for at least two years. I have not called DEY yet to confirm this, but I wanted to see if anyone else had heard this same thing.

On May 10, 2001

Wooohooo!!! Finally got 2 new epi's to replace the ones that expired in March.....expiry date on the new ones April 2003! That's almost a full 2 years. I've never had such a far off expiry date before!

Sue

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