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Information updates

EpiPen® supply update

17 May 2018: 

EpiPen® 300mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors continue to be distributed each week via wholesalers to pharmacies. Mylan has recently introduced an EpiPen toll-free hotline 1800 931 625 for inquiries about supply.  If a pharmacy is out of stock the pharmacist should contact their wholesaler/s to obtain stock. If there are any problems they should phone 1800 931 625 (AU) or 0800 168 169 (NZ).

Whilst the use of an expired adrenaline autoinjector is not ideal, research suggests that recently expired devices retain potency. Therefore, if no other adrenaline autoinjector is available, use of a recently expired device to treat anaphylaxis is advised, as stated on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/health-professionals/anaphylaxis-resources/adrenaline-autoinjector-storage-expiry-and-disposal

Due to safety concerns ASCIA does not recommend doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals in Australia to advise patients or their carers to learn to draw up adrenaline using an adrenaline ampoule, needle and syringe.  Whilst using a recently expired device is not ideal, this is a safer option for patients at risk of anaphylaxis, than using an adrenaline ampoule, needle and syringe. 

In the case of anaphylaxis, patients or their carers should follow instructions on their ASCIA Action Plan www.allergy.org.au/anaphylaxis - Give EpiPen® and call an ambulance by phoning 000 (AU) or 111 (NZ). 

Patients and/or carers who require advice should contact the national patient support organisations, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (phone 1300 728 000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Allergy New Zealand  www.allergy.org.nz

 

How to remove ticks to prevent allergic reactions

8 May 2018

The ASCIA website article on tick allergy has been updated to highlight the following information on how to remove ticks to prevent allergic reactions.

To prevent allergic reactions to ticks do NOT forcibly remove the tick. Disturbing the tick may cause the tick to inject more allergen-containing saliva. The options are to:

  1. Leave tick in place and seek medical assistance; OR
  2. Freeze tick (using a product that rapidly freezes and kills the tick) and allow to drop off.

Allergic reactions to ticks range from mild (with large local swelling and inflammation at the site of a tick bite) to severe (anaphylaxis)

While the “tick season” is often considered to range from around February to August, when adults ticks are more prevalent, ticks are present all year round. Therefore the risk of exposure to ticks remains throughout the entire year, particularly on the east coast of Australia, with known populations of ticks. 

For more information go to www.allergy.org.au/ticks

Update on supply of venom immunotherapy products in Australia and New Zealand

5 May 2018

As previously communicated, events overseas have impacted the ability of Stallergenes Greer to supply venom immunotherapy products to Australia and New Zealand. Stallergenes Greer has now advised ASCIA of the following supply update.

Honey Bee venom

  • Hymenoptera Honey Bee venom is now available in Australia. Please note that only orders for the “Hymenoptera” brand of honey bee venom will be processed at this time. Customers with backorders for the “Albey” brand honey bee venom are advised to contact their wholesaler and request these orders be changed to “Hymenoptera” or cancelled as appropriate. For any assistance, please contact the Stallergenes Greer Customer Service team on 1800 824 166 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • In New Zealand, Albey Honey Bee venom remains in stock.

Paper Wasp venom

  • Paper Wasp venom is currently out of stock in Australia. Stallergenes Greer is endeavouring to confirm the date of the next available shipment of Paper Wasp venom and will provide updates as soon as possible.
  • In New Zealand, Albey Paper Wasp venom remains in stock.

Yellow Jacket venom

  • The remaining inventory of Albey Yellow Jacket venom stock in Australia and New Zealand has now expired (expiry May 2018). Hymenoptera Yellow Jacket venom will be available in both Australia and New Zealand from mid-May 2018. Please note that Stallergenes Greer is actively working with the PBAC and Pharmac to ensure that Hymenoptera Yellow Jacket venom is listed and available under reimbursement to patients as soon as possible. They will advise once they have a confirmed listing date for both countries.

For further assistance, please contact Stallergenes Greer as follows:

  • For orders or status of orders, contact the Customer Service team on 1800 824 166 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • For medical information enquiries, contact Dr Martin Rees (APAC Regional Medical Director) by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
  • To report adverse events, contact Stallergenes Greer on 1800 824 166

Stallergenes Greer understands the impact of venom shortages on both patients and prescribers, and are committed to ensuring reliable supply of these important products into Australia and New Zealand on an ongoing basis.

Changes to Medicare-funded allergy testing - effective 1 November 2018

5 May 2018

The Australian Government is making changes to Medicare-funded dermatology, allergy and immunology services, following recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.

New restrictions on allergen testing will be introduced on 1 November 2018 to discourage testing for more than 20 allergens at a time. Allergen testing items will further be restructured into tests for environmental, food and latex, medication, and anaesthetic-related allergies. For more information go to http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/MBSR-Safe-and-best-practice-dermatology-allergy-and-immunology-services

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) made a detailed submission to the MBS Review Taskforce in July 2017 which outlined concerns about the proposed restrictions, particularly regarding the potential effects on diagnosing patients with complex allergic diseases.  The ASCIA submission also noted that it is likely that the increased use of skin testing reflects the epidemiology of allergic disease, with well-documented significant increases in disease prevalence (greater than the rate of population rise) in recent years. Skin prick testing is the primary diagnostic mode in allergic disease and offers the most cost-effective method to identify allergic sensitisation.  Whilst receipt of this submission was acknowledged, ASCIA was not consulted further about the proposed restrictions, despite requests.

ASCIA website update – new documents about how to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention (FAQ) and oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergy

2 May 2018

The following two new ASCIA documents for parents, patients, carers and consumers are now available on the ASCIA website:

  • How to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention - in a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) format
  • Oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergy 
How to introduce solid foods for allergy prevention FAQ

This document provides updated practical advice in a more user-friendly FAQ format, about how to introduce solid foods to babies, based on currently available evidence for food allergy prevention. It is relevant for all babies, including babies with severe eczema, existing food allergy or a family member with allergies and is available open access on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-prevention/ascia-how-to-introduce-solid-foods-to-babies

The previous version of this document was recently accessed or downloaded from the ASCIA website around 5,000 times per month, so we expect this more user-friendly version will be even more popular! 

New information on oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergy

Information about OIT, a potential treatment for food allergy, is now available open access on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-treatment/oral-immunotherapy-for-food-allergy 

OIT involves administering gradually increasing amounts of food allergen under medical supervision. However, OIT methods for treating food allergy are not currently standardised or approved for routine treatment in the USA or globally. There are concerns about a high (or unknown) risk of potential harm in patients with severe food allergy, as well as considerable cost implications. Trials on OIT for food allergy are currently underway in Australia and other countries, that aim to develop standardised and proven methods, to maximise benefit and reduce the risk of potential harm in patients with severe food allergy.

Shortage of venom immunotherapy products: honey bee, paper wasp and yellow jacket - Supply update from Stallergenes Greer

13 April 2018: 

As communicated in March 2018, events overseas have impacted the ability of Stallergenes Greer to supply venom immunotherapy products to Australia and New Zealand.  The first direct shipment of venom products from JHS to Australia has now arrived, and ASCIA has received the following advice:

Honey Bee venom

  • Hymenoptera Honey Bee venom will be available again in Australia towards the end of week commencing 16 April 2018.

Please note: only orders for the “Hymenoptera” brand of honey bee venom will be processed at this time. Customers with backorders for the “Albey” brand honey bee venom are advised to contact their wholesaler and request these orders be changed to “Hymenoptera” or cancelled as appropriate. For any assistance, contact the Stallergenes Greer Customer Service team on 1800 824 166 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • In New Zealand there is sufficient Albey Honey Bee venom stock to meet demand over the next 6 months.

Novalac Allergy infant formula is back in supply

27 March 2018

Bayer Australia Ltd (Bayer), has advised ASCIA that the infant formula Novalac Allergy is back in supply and now being delivered to wholesalers for distribution to pharmacies.

Over the next ten working days this stock will be added to supply already in pharmacies across Australia. The temporary shortage of the formula was due to an unprecedented demand for the product.

Bayer would like to reassure Australian healthcare professionals of their commitment to increasing supply of Novalac Allergy.

Temporary shortage of Stallergenes Greer allergen immunotherapy products

22 March 2018

Stallergenes Greer has notified ASCIA of a temporary shortage in the supply of the subcutaneous (SCIT) injectable allergen immunotherapy products. The supply of Stallergenes Greer sublingual allergen immunotherapy (SLIT) products is not impacted.  Despite this temporary supply shortage from their Antony manufacturing site in France, Stallergenes Greer has existing local stock in Australia and New Zealand. This should enable the continued supply of the full range of their SCIT and SLIT products, with the exception of ALUSTAL 5 grass mix (initial 3 vials).  

Patients who are currently receiving (or are being considered) for treatment with Stallergenes Greer SCIT products should speak with their doctor about the potential impact of this temporary supply shortage on their management.

Stallergenes Greer is continuing to upgrade its manufacturing facility and processes at their Antony site in France. Significant improvements supported by substantial investments have already been implemented proactively over the past few months to deliver products that meet the highest quality standards. However, the improvements they are now undertaking will be on a larger scale and will take more time than originally anticipated, resulting in longer manufacturing lead times and temporary shortages.

New stock of EpiPen® 300mcg adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors

5 March 2018

Mylan has confirmed that new stock of EpiPen® 300mcg adrenaline autoinjectors arrived last week and will be available in pharmacies this week. This will be followed by further new stock arriving soon.  Please note that stock levels will take some time to return to normal, so to ensure those at risk of anaphylaxis have access to the treatment they may need, supply should be prioritised for patients with an EpiPen® prescription:

  • For a new diagnosis, or
  • To replace their EpiPen® which is expiring this month, has recently expired or has recently been used. 

If a pharmacy is out of stock of EpiPen® 300mcg or EpiPen® Jr, the pharmacist can contact their wholesaler/s to obtain stock. If there are any problems the pharmacist should phone Mylan on 1800 274 276.

Important information for schools and early childhood education/care centres

Until supply is back to normal levels, ASCIA recommends that schools and early childhood education/care (ECEC) centres take into account the current limited supply, by:

  • Not requesting an additional device (more than one) to be brought to the school or ECEC centre for each child at risk of anaphylaxis, and
  • Limiting the replacement of general use devices.

It is also important for schools and ECEC centres to note that current ASCIA Action Plans are the 2017 versions, so these are valid for use throughout 2018 until the 'due for review date' on the plan.  A 2016 version of the Action plan is also valid in 2018 if the 'due for review date' is in 2018 or later.  For more information go to www.allergy.org.au/anaphylaxis

Use of expired adrenaline autoinjectors to treat anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening, severe allergic reaction, that requires immediate treatment with adrenaline (epinephrine). Anaphylaxis should always be treated as a medical emergency. Call an ambulance (000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand) immediately after giving an adrenaline autoinjector.

Shortage of venom immunotherapy products: honey bee, paper wasp and yellow jacket

2 March 2018

Stallergenes Greer has recently received information affecting supply of all venom immunotherapy products to Australia and New Zealand, including Honey Bee venom, Paper Wasp venom and Yellow Jacket venom.  This change in circumstances is due to news about a shutdown of ALK manufacturing facilities in the US. 

This has required JHS (supplier of venom immunotherapy to Stallergenes Greer) to reprioritise the supply of venom immunotherapy products to meet additional demands in the US on an ongoing basis.  On receiving this news, Stallergenes Greer has made immediate arrangements with JHS to secure stock of all three products directly from the US.

The current stock situation in Australia and New Zealand is as follows: 

Honey Bee venom

  • In Australia Honey Bee venom is currently out of stock. Hymenoptera Honey Bee venom is expected to be available again in Australia in around mid-April 2018.
  • In New Zealand there is sufficient Albey Honey Bee venom stock to meet demand over the next 6 months.

Paper Wasp venom

  • in Australia Paper Wasp venom is currently out of stock. Stallergenes Greer will confirm the date of the next available shipment as soon as possible.
  • In New Zealand there is sufficient Albey Paper Wasp venom stock to meet demand over the next 3 months.

Yellow Jacket venom

  • Yellow Jacket venom is NOT out of stock in either Australia or New Zealand. 
  • However the remaining Albey Yellow Jacket venom stock is short-dated (expiry May 2018).
  • Stallergenes Greer will confirm the date of the next available shipment as soon as possible.

For guidance on how to make decisions about the appropriate care for patients currently receiving venom immunotherapy, and measures to avoid interruptions to therapy in high-risk patients, you may wish to refer to the:

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