Q13 FOX Season of Giving

EpiPen shortage still keeping kids from attending school

SPANAWAY, Wash. - A national EpiPen shortage is affecting a Spanaway mother who says her son hasn’t been in school for the past month because she hasn’t been able to find the medicine.

Five-year-old Eden Morris needs his EpiPen in case he has an allergic reaction to a bunch of foods.

“Peanuts, eggs, milk,” said Eden Morris.

His mother, Chiquita Morris, says she didn’t know her son needed to have an EpiPen on file at school and was told by the school nurse during the first week of school that it was required by state law.

In this photo illustration, EpiPen, which dispenses epinephrine through an injection mechanism for people with severe allergies. (Lucas Trieb/AFP/Getty Images)

“I asked why does he have to be pulled out of school and she said that Washington state law states kids who require emergency medicine that they have to be on file in order for them to attend,” said Morris.

Her son has been home from school for a month.

“I’m frustrated, I’ve been trying to get him back into school, calling around for EpiPens,” said Morris.

The Bethel School District says Morris’ situation is an isolated incident.

“Currently there is only one student in our district who is still having an issue obtaining medication. If other families in our district are experiencing the same issue, we are here to support them. They just need to contact their school nurse,” the district says in a statement.

Doctor Doreen Kiss with UW Medicine says the EpiPen shortage caused a flurry of frantic patients to come into her office saying that pharmacies didn’t have the medicine in stock because of a nationwide shortage.

“Many families are being told their expiring EpiPens will be good. The FDA has allowed a 4-month extension on certain lot numbers of EpiPens to meet the national crisis,” said Kiss.

Mylan is the distributor of the EpiPen and Meridian, a Pfizer subsidiary, manufactures EpiPen. Pfizer, in a statement, told Q13, "We are experiencing delayed shipments due to process changes, which have temporarily limited capacity.  We strictly adhere to policies that ensure product quality and safety.  In this case, additional inspections were required prior to final product release and shipping. The constrained supply of EpiPen was also due to supply of certain third-party components. Product continues to ship and we anticipate that inventory in the distribution channels to stabilize supply, which is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2018."

Mylan, the distributor of the EpiPen tells Q13 when they learned of the Morris family’s situation this week, they immediately helped the family locate an EpiPen at a local pharmacy.

“We continue to encourage patients and caregivers who are experiencing difficulty filling their prescription to call us at 800-796-9526 so we can help.”

Morris says she hopes Eden will be back in school later this week. “Right now, I am just waiting for the prescription to be filled,” she said.