Layla Moran has demanded action from Health Ministers after local parents raised concerns with her about a shortage of epi-pens in the county.
Epi-pens can only be used once and have an expiry date, usually of 12 months. It is recommended that people with severe allergies keep two of them on their person at all times in case of anaphylactic shock.
National shortages mean that both adults and children are being asked to use epi-pens beyond their use by dates.
Last week (18th October) the NHS told chemists to check whether young children are in urgent need of the pens before giving them out to parents. Pharmacists were told that only children who have no epi-pens should get the standard prescription of two devices.
One Wootton resident wrote to Layla Moran to ask for help over what she described as “a life threatening situation that needs to be addressed immediately.” She went on to say that, “I am writing this as part of a campaign to try and get someone to take some action as our region seems to be worst hit by this shortage.”
The email led Ms Moran to raise the issue in the House of Commons with the Government’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, asking him “what estimate he has made of the shortage of EpiPen 0.3mg Auto-Injectors in (a) Oxfordshire and (b) England; and what steps he is taking to address that shortage.”
Responding, junior Health Minister Steve Brine MP told Layla that some suppliers are only able to meet 50% of the demand and that the Department for Health “is working very closely with all the manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England, and others to try to resolve these issues and improve the situation as quickly as possible.”
Commenting, Layla Moran said:
“We have seen in several news stories over recent weeks just how serious and life-threatening serious allergies can be. Local parents of children with allergies, and adults affected themselves, are understandably extremely concerned about the shortage of epi-pens.
“Last week’s news that the NHS is giving instructions to pharmacies to look at limiting supplies is worrying to say the least. I am determined to keep up the pressure in Parliament and with the Government until the issues around these shortages are solved.
“No one should have to be worried about whether an epi-pen they’ve been told to use even after its use-by date will work if they need it to save their life during anaphaxis. Health ministers must get a grip and get on top of this crisis as a matter of priority.”
Layla Moran’s Parliamentary question is as follows:
Question: Layla Moran (Lib Dem, Oxford West and Abingdon):
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the shortage of EpiPen 0.3mg Auto-Injectors in (a) Oxfordshire and (b) England; and what steps he is taking to address that shortage.
Answer: Steve Brine (Con, Minister of State for Health):
The United Kingdom supplier of EpiPen 0.3mg adrenaline auto-injectors, Mylan, has estimated that they are currently able to supply approximately 50% of their normal demand for this product. Within the UK there are two alternative 0.3mg adrenaline auto-injector devices and the manufacturers of these have been able to increase their supplies and support the market during this time. We therefore expect that patients will continue to be able to access 0.3mg adrenaline auto-injector devices if prescribed. The Department is working very closely with all the manufacturers of adrenaline auto-injectors, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, NHS England, and others to try to resolve these issues and improve the situation as quickly as possible.