Venom Extract Shortage

To many individuals who suffer from venom allergies, going outside during the summer can be a terrifying experience. Fortunately, there are many measures in place which can help to provide treatment and comfort for those individuals including immunotherapy or epinephrine, should they be stung by an insect. Venom immunotherapy works to significantly reduce the risk of reactions through injecting small doses of venom under the skin. This then decreases an individual’s sensitivity to the allergen, thus reducing the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

 

Beginning October 2016, one of the two venom manufacturers in the U.S. discontinued production of venom extract, which is the component of immunotherapy, due to contamination issues. This then left Jubilant HollisterStier as the sole producer of venom extract in the U.S. As one can imagine, this venom shortage left allergists in a difficult position requiring them to ration their supply of venom extract and spread out the time between immunotherapy for individual patients. While this measure was successful in managing the demand for extract under limited circumstances, Jubilant HollisterStier still remains the sole producer of venom extract in North America. With the rise in urbanism, there has also been a decreased demand for venom extract as individuals do not have the same level of exposure to the insects which can harm them. This decrease in demand is partly to blame for the currently monopoly on venom extract as less people choose to undergo venom immunotherapy and opt instead for carrying an EpiPen should they be stung. For more information on the shortage please visit:

https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/27/health/insect-venom-shortage-partner/index.html

 

Weihong Zheng