EpiPen Shortage Ask the St. Elizabeth Expert: What Can I Do If I Need An EpiPen During the Shortage? CINCINNATI (WKRC) — There are new concerns as a nationwide shortage of EpiPens is now impacting pharmacies in the Tri-State. St. Elizabeth Healthcare experts have advice on what you can do if you need this device but none are available. Situations, such as a bee sting allergy or other environmental dangers, that can cause life-threatening reactions where an EpiPen is needed can happen without warning. An Auvi-Q device can deliver the same medication as an EpiPen. The problem is the Auvi-Q can be easy to find, but the EpiPen is not, according to Suzi Francis, a pharmacist for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. "I've spoken with many area pharmacists, and it's been about a month in between orders, and maybe they will get one in and maybe they won't," Francis said. Francis says the shortage in pharmacies started last year with device concerns. "The FDA had to ask for some quality measures to be taken at the plants where the device was made — not the drug — but the device," she said. That led to shipping delays, which dropped supply and then children went back to school. About 40 percent of EpiPens are dispensed around back-to-school season, so the demand is high and manufacturers couldn't keep up with the supply. Since then, several manufacturers and the FDA have been putting out information that you may need to know. There are a couple alternatives, and there are a few things online that could make a big difference if you are looking or you need an EpiPen. First, if you have an EpiPen, check online to see if the FDA has safely extended the expiration date for it. If you don't have one, ask your pharmacist to work with you on getting an Auvi-Q. Francis says they cost more — around $1,500 — but coupons or insurance coverage may help you bring down that cost. "It is very much a team effort between the patient and the pharmacist," she said.