Thursday, August 02, 2007

Grr. Argh.

So, I go to get new Epi-pens for Ryan because two of them expired. Expired Epi-pens are a Good Thing, because that means there was no anaphylaxis. So yay for that.

Anyway, he's supposed to get the 2-pack of Epis but I renewed the wrong script (from the allergist, not the pediatrician). So I only got one Epi for the price of two ($25). And, and, and! The stupid thing expires in September!

So instead of getting two Epis for $25 that would be good for 10-15 months, I got one that's good for 2 months. Also, we're down to three total and with our annual trip to the Outer Banks coming up, we really need at least four, so that means I'll have to pay for one out of pocket because the insurance will only cover prescriptions once every 30 days! (head spinning goes here)

It's my own fault, because I should have checked the expire date while at the pharmacy. But it's still so annoying--if this were any other kind of product purchased at any other kind of store I'd be able to exchange it for one with an expiration date further out. But I can't because it's a prescription.



Charlie said...

Well, if the government was running the healthcare system, you wouldn't have to worry about it. You'd have all the expired epi-pens you could dream of!

But seriously, have you done any research into what the expiration date on the pens really means? I know you don't want to risk his life on expired medicine, but often times the expiration date is based more on FDA rules than actual science.

So--assuming it's scientifically valid and the active ingredient doesn't degrade significantly--you might want to hold onto the expired ones as backup. Just sayin'.

Rational Jenn said...

You know, that is an extremely excellent point--that the FDA determines expiration dates, not you know, scientists.

However, I have researched the epi-pen thing and can't locate the source just now, but it appears that this is one medication that does degrade significantly fairly soon after the expire date. :o( It's kind of a fragile med anyway, sensitive to heat and light, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I do think my July pens are probably fine, but I think it's something like 4 months past the date, they are only 75%. Which may be okay for some meds but not this med in our situation.

It's the principle of the thing though---$25 for 2 months! And so I grump. :)

But again--that's an excellent point--expiration dates determined by arbitrary rules rather than science. And we want MORE government meddling in medicine?


Charlie said...

To be fair, there is significant scientific input into most of what FDA does, including panels of actual experts that advise FDA on decisions like this. And the companies seeking approval do extensive studies (both clinical and lab) to determine dosing, expiration, etc.

However, as with all such things where government is overly involved, the competing interests of all parties sometimes skew the resulting recommendations. Either of the parties (govt. or industry) may set short expiration times either to cover their butts against lawsuits or political fallout, or to sell more product to cover costs associated with excessive govt. oversight. So it's sometimes good to just do a quick check to find out what independent researchers say.

All of that said, as I've been doing a quick PubMed search on epinephrine delivery, I've found that you are correct in that it seems to degrade to an inactive isomer relatively quickly (in a matter or months -- but I don't know how many yet).

Rational Jenn said...

You're absolutely right--"arbitrary" was perhaps a bit strong of a word. I allowed my grumps to run away with me for a bit!

Thanks for doing all that epinephrine research for me. See you soon!