10/28/15 – All Auvi-Q Epinephrine Autoinjectors Recalled

Today Sanofi US announced a large scale recall of their .15 and .3 mg epinephrine autoinjectors.  A few folks subscribe to this blog because of the pricing and expiration date updates I’ve provided about autoinjectors so I wanted to link to their announcement right away: http://www.news.sanofi.us/2015-10-28-Sanofi-US-Issues-Voluntary-Nationwide-Recall-of-Auvi-Q-Due-to-Potential-Inaccurate-Dosage-Delivery

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I’m disturbed that I learned about this via twitter even though I’ve registered for emails from Sanofi about the Auvi-Q and received an email from them on October 22 reminding me to use discount cards before they expire.

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Questions folks have right now include:

  • What autoinjector do we get in the meantime if we’re returning recalled ones?
  • Do we need a new prescription?
  • Will Sanofi reimburse for replacements and if so, do they have to be of the same brand or can they be for a competitor model?
  • Will the failures as reported be confirmed and if so, how?
  • Will the expense and public relations fallout mean even higher prices for Auvi-Q in the future?
  • Are expired Auvi-Q models affected or those only within the current expiration date range?

Also, the wording of the announcement has a lot of people confused because it talks about specific expiration dates and then also says all injectors on the market are impacted.  The announcement also talks about hypersensitivity which is odd wording.

You could view the recall as being in an abundance of caution and therefore showing how sensitive Sanofi is being to consumers or you can wonder about the timing and the lack of actual clear instructions for how to handle the issue.  People who have relied on EpiPens may be saying “told you so” while those who embraced Auvi-Q may be wondering about making a switch, we still don’t know enough at this point except that how this is handled going forward will certainly impact consumer perceptions.

The costs of replacing medication, between new doctor’s appointments for prescriptions, potentially missing work or school to sort matters out, and more are factors that Sanofi can’t control.  I have preferred the Auvi-Q in form and function since it was released but will be sending my daughter to school tomorrow with a set of EpiPens.  The sheer expense of a mid-year replacement (ie, replacing the EpiPen with an Auvi-Q if new batches ship) make reverting back to the Auvi-Q another year away for us.

No matter what take we have as the story develops, safety is always a priority.  Though I’m no medical expert or professional, my standard operating procedure for food allergies is: Avoid allergens and respond appropriately in the event of known ingestion or a reaction.  Always carry two autoinjectors and practice your allergy action plan.  If all you have is an Auvi-Q in the event of a reaction before you can replace it, use it.  The same goes for using an expired autoinjector – if it is all there is and there’s no time to waste, use what you can safely use.