U.S. Epipen Recall: What you NEED to Know

If you haven’t heard, in late March EpiPen Recalled about 80,000 EpiPens from the Australian market and have announced ANOTHER Epipen recall worldwide including the United States.

The reason:  a defect which led to trouble activating the life saving medication.

Now, I would love to get a jab about how Mylan’s 451% price increase on Epipens should have paid for better quality control checks, but I won’t.  Alhough I love making snideful comments about companies that have made life difficult for my patients… this isn’t time for jabs.  This is a pretty serious problem.

Epipen recall alert:  Some Epipen’s have a defect that causes an activation problem with the epinephrine making it unable to deliver the life-saving medication.

There are 4 steps that you should take to see if the Epipen recall affects you and, if you are, how to fix it.

 

Who should read this article?

There are a few different courses of action that I think different people should take regarding this news:

  • If you or your child currently has an EpiPen, then PLEASE READ this to see if the Epipen Recall applies to you (it’ll be fast)
  • If you want to know good EpiPen alternatives (due to the Epipen recall or Epipen’s price), I cover these as well

 

Second, if you are in this group then please SHARE this online to help your friends or peers:

  • If you have friends with Epipens, please share this article online so they can know about the Epipen Recall process
  • If you are a teacher or work with kids, please share this article online
  • If you are a primary care provider, please share this with your patients (and online, if you want)

Now, let’s go through what you need to do for this recall.

 

Step 1:  Are you affected by the Epipen recall?

First, are you even affected by the Epipen recall?  I’ve taken this image from mylan.com recall page for the recalled lot numbers.  Please check your Epipen and Epipen Jr to see if you’re affected:

Epipen recall numbers

Your lot number is usually written on the side of either the carton or the box.

Where to find lot number epipen
Your lot number will be on the edge of the box
Lot number for epipen recall
Your lot number is also written on the EpiPen above the expiration date

 

If your Epipen is NOT on this list, then you’re OK.  If it is, then your epipen is recalled due to possible malfunction.  Read down to the next steps.

 

Step 2:  Get a Voucher for a Free Replacement

If your Epipen IS on the recall list, then you need to get a new epipen.

You need to call Stericycle at 877-650-3494 and to get the voucher (they are open Monday-Friday 8am-10pm EST and Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm EST).  They should also give you a prepaid return package to ship the product back.

DO NOT ship them your old Epipen until you have your new one!

 

Step 3:  Get your Replacement Epipen

After you get your voucher, take it to your local pharmacy and you’ll get a free replacement pen.  All pharmacies should be honoring the replacement voucher.

I will tell you that when you get your replacement you NEED to check two things:

1)  Check to make sure the new one isn’t on the recall list (the pharmacy should have done this, but make sure to double check)

2)  DO NOT take a pen with less than 1 year until expiration.

This second point is one that I’ve written about in the past (along with other Epipen Cost Saving Hacks), but the pharmacy should give you a pen with a 1 year expiration date.  But you need to check this before you accept the pen.

If you take the medication and check it at home, you cannot return the product to the pharmacy.

Check your Epipen at the pharmacy before you accept the product to ensure that you have a full year until expiration.

You can’t return it if you notice the expiration date after you take it home

 

Step 4:  Return your Recalled Epipen

After you have received your new Epipen, then return the defective device to Stericycle.

What are Alternatives?

It is very reasonable to ask if there are Epipen alternatives.  Many of you asked for an Epipen alternative due to their price increase, but this current Epipen recall is comes even more important.

Luckily, there are a few alternatives for you.

Auvi-Q:  The BEST Alternative to Epipen

Best alternative epipen cost saving choice
Auvi-Q:  Better, cheaper and smaller!

I am a huge fan of Auvi-Q for one reason:  they are putting the patient first.

I’ve written about the Auvi-Q:  The Cheaper, Better Epipen  in the past and have a few more articles in the works about it (I need to space them out so that I don’t annoy people with my fanboy attitudes) but this product is revolutionary in many different ways.

Regarding today’s discussion, here is a quote from Dr. Eric Edwards, one of Auvi-Q’s inventor, regarding their strict manufacturing and quality control process:

In Kaléo created an intelligent, high-tech, 100% automated robotic production line with over 100 automated quality checks on each Auvi-Q device, to help ensure a streamlined and consistent production process.

For me, this is a HUGE advantage when you want to be able to absolutely trust your life-saving medication.

 

Second Alternatives:  Generic Epipen

I have written about generic alternatives to epipen in the past and their availablity has been increasing.  If you want to change your maker of epinephrine, a generic is a strong contender.

I would rank this as option #2, especially in this case, because I don’t know the generic epipen’s process for ensuring quality control like I do Auvi-Q’s.

 

Summary

This is a brief but important article about the Epipen Recall that has spread further including the United States.  I covered the 4 steps that are outlined in the Mylan webpage:

  1. Check to see if your Epipen is one of the recalled lot numbers
  2. Call Stericycle and get a voucher for a new Epipen
  3. Go to the pharmacy and get a new Epipen
  4. Return the defective/recalled one to Stericycle (they should provide a box)

 

I also mentioned that if you wanted to switch away from Epipen, now might be a good time.  There are two good alternatives for you if you want to switch:

  1. Consider getting Auvi-Q, which has a 100% automated process with a hundred quality control checks to ensure your product is safe
  2. Consider getting a generic alternative to Epipen

 

Next Steps

If you are affected by this recall, your next steps are to follow the steps above.  Do it now (don’t delay) and get this problem fixed right away!

If you aren’t affected, please consider SHARING this article.  You can see that I’ve written it as a fast, easy to read article with one goal:  to help people who need to get their Epipen changed!

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