HEALTH

Tens of thousands of EpiPens recalled for faulty mechanism

Only 27 states require or allow epinephrine, a drug used to treat anaphylactic shock, to be available in schools. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Only 27 states require or allow epinephrine, a drug used to treat anaphylactic shock, to be available in schools. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)  (AP)

More than 80,000 EpiPens are being recalled across multiple countries because they might fail to work in an emergency, the company announced this week.

The devices included in the recall were distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and a variety of European countries, but not in the United States, said a spokesperson for Mylan, the company that markets the device.

In two cases, the EpiPens actually did not work, according to a Mylan statement issued on Monday, though the company did not specify whether anyone was injured as a result of the failure.

EpiPens are auto-injectors that deliver lifesaving doses of epinephrine to individuals suffering from severe allergic reactions. When pressed into the thigh of a person experiencing anaphylactic shock, it triggers a needle to shoot through the person’s skin and deliver epinephrine directly into the muscle.

The recalled pens may contain a “defective part” that “may result in the device failing to activate or requiring increased force to activate,” according to the company’s statement.

EpiPens are manufactured by Meridian Medical Technologies, a US-based subsidiary of Pfizer.

According to government agencies, nearly 500 EpiPens have been recalled in Denmark and about 2,000 in Norway, along with an unspecified number in Finland and Ireland.

A Norwegian Medicines Agency news release notes that EpiPens covered under this recall had been for sale in Norway since January 2016.

According to the Mylan statement, the potentially defective EpiPens expire in April.

Patients can trade in their recalled auto-injector for a new one at no cost.