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There are spot shortages of EpiPens. What should you do?

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EpiPens are in short supply in parts of the U.S., but people should still be able to find the emergency treatment for allergic reactions, federal health officials said Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration added EpiPens, generic epipens and Adrenaclick autoinjectors to its list of drug shortages. The FDA says there have been supply disruptions even though the maker, Mylan, is still making and distributing EpiPens and a generic version.

The spot shortages don’t mean people cannot get EpiPens or generics, but they may have to look harder or turn to a different brand, the FDA said.

“Based on the information provided by the manufacturer, the FDA anticipates the EpiPen shortage to be short-term,” an FDA spokespersons aid.

A second supplier of auto-injectors, Impax or Amneal Pharmaceuticals, is also reporting a shortage of its Adrenaclick product, the FDA said. But a company called Kaleo, which makes an injector called Auvi-Q, says its products are available.

Don’t wait for an emergency

People who carry Epipens or other auto-injectors should check their supply now, advised Dr. James Baker, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan and CEO of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

“The first thing they should do is check their own injectors, checking out (expiration) dates, to make sure they have enough time so they’re not going to be without the injector,” Baker told NBC News.

“The second thing is to look at alternatives,” Baker added. Adrenaclick may also be hard to get.

“So right now the only auto-injector that appears to be widely available is the Auvi-Q.”

What’s most important is for patients to understand how to use a different brand from the one they are used to, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says.

Auvi-Q, an auto-injectable epinephrine device used to treat anaphylaxis due to allergies, features voice instructions through a small speaker.
Auvi-Q, an auto-injectable epinephrine device used to treat anaphylaxis due to allergies, features voice instructions through a small speaker. Chase Stevens / las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

“If you have a severe allergy and carry epinephrine, it is important to know that each brand functions a little differently. The stress of an anaphylactic reaction is not the time to realize you have a different autoinjector than what was demonstrated to you by your allergist,” the group, which represents allergy experts, says on its website.

“Although the medication is the same, the method for injecting it is different for each brand,” it adds.

“The next time you pick up your prescription, be sure to compare the brand and dose you received with the brand you have been trained to use. If the medication appears to be different than what you expected, find out why a substitution was made. Also, be sure to get a demonstration on how to use the product.”

The FDA says it is working to understand and control the shortage.

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“The FDA has been working closely with Mylan to understand the status of EpiPen production supply and has been in contact with the other manufacturers of epinephrine auto-injectors regarding their supply status,” the FDA said.

“Although EpiPens remain available from Mylan, there have been reports of local supply disruptions and Mylan has reported intermittent manufacturing constraints.”

There’s a number for patients to call if they have trouble finding the injectors. “Patients who are experiencing difficulty accessing product should contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance in locating alternative pharmacies,” the FDA said.

Patient advocates have been calling on the FDA to declare a shortage of Epipens, saying patients have been reporting problems in getting the injectors for weeks.

“Over the past two weeks, patients with food allergies have reported trouble obtaining prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors,” Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) said in a statement.

“The only FDA-approved product currently sold in the U.S. that has not reported any shortage or supply issues is Kaleo’s Auvi-Q®,” it added.

It said patients might not easily understand how to use a product that’s different from the one they are used to — and in an emergency, that could make a big difference.

All of the FDA-approved delivery devices contain the same medicine, epinephrine, but the way they’re used — and instructions for using the device in an emergency — are different for each product, according to the FARE statement. Many patients depend on EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. or authorized generics.

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The auto-injector devices are designed to make it quick and easy for patients to deliver a dose of epinephrine to stop a life-threatening allergic attack called anaphylaxis. People can go into anaphylactic shock after eating a food they’re very allergic to, such as peanuts, or after a bee-sting if they are allergic to insect stings.

People who know they have life-threatening allergies, or parents of kids who do, routinely carry the auto-injectors for such emergencies.

Baker said the shortages might end up being good for Kaleo, which makes Auvi-Q.

“It is different to use, but it’s easy to learn,” he said. For one thing, it’s smaller. “It actually talks to you and tells you when it injecting and when it’s not. It’s more modern.”

Baker said he is sending his own patients to the Auvi-Q website.

Drugmaker Mylan, which partners with Pfizer to make EpiPens, has denied there’s a shortage in the U.S., although the company has confirmed shortages of EpiPens in Canada and Britain since last year.

Mylan recalled tens of thousands of EpiPens in March 2017 following two reports that the devices failed to work in emergencies.



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Scientists set out 10 golden rules for reforestation amid tree planting warnings | UK News

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Ten “golden rules” for reforestation have been set out by scientists as they warned poorly executed tree planting schemes can harm the environment.

Planting trees to reduce carbon emissions can be presented as an “easy answer” to tackling the climate crisis, but it can cause more problems than benefits, experts have said.

The researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) are urging a “right tree in the right place” approach to make sure restoring forests benefits people and the planet.

Picking the right trees and places for planting can help restore nature and boost people's livelihoods
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Picking the right trees and places for planting can help restore nature and boost people’s livelihoods

Conservation partnership coordinator at RBG Kew Dr Kate Hardwick said: “When people plant the wrong trees in the wrong place, it can cause considerably more damage than benefits, failing to help people or nature.”

A study by the scientists found in some cases, tree planting schemes did not increase the amount of carbon being stored in the landscape and could hit wildlife and people’s livelihoods.

Planting large areas with only a few, non-native, species can push out the wildlife, reduce the amount of carbon being stored in soils and the forests, and reduce the land available for crops – potentially causing more deforestation elsewhere.

Allowing areas of forest to naturally regenerate is cheaper and can create up to 40 times more potential for carbon storage than plantations while picking the right trees and places for planting can help restore nature and boost people’s livelihoods.

The 10 golden rules, set out in a paper published in the Global Change Biology journal, focus on protecting existing forests first, putting local people at the heart of projects, and using natural regrowth of trees where possible.

Scientists claim that poorly planned and executed tree planting schemes can harm the environment
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Scientists claim that poorly planned and executed tree planting schemes can harm the environment

Dr Paul Smith, secretary-general at BGCI, said the rules highlighted that planting trees was highly complex.

“There is no universal, easy solution to a successful reforestation initiative given the extraordinary diversity of trees, forest types and the unique cultural and economic environments each forest is in.

“However, there are successful examples that we can learn from and develop further to build on current public and private interest in the topic,” he said

A virtual conference next month has been organised by RBG Kew and BGCI, with Sky Zero as its headline sponsor.

It will bring together a series of interesting global perspectives to debate and challenge the myth that “all tree planting is good” and to discuss best practice for protecting and restoring the world’s forests.

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The conference will be opened by The Prince of Wales and it is hoped the discussions will raise the standard of reforestation globally ahead of the UN conferences (COP15 and COP26) later this year on new global biodiversity and climate change agreements.

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COVID-19: Luxembourg live music experiment could help ‘prepare for return to live events’ | Ents & Arts News

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A live music experiment is set to take place in Luxembourg, with organisers saying it is hoped the shows could help pave the way for the return of gigs.

Five test concerts with strict health measures and restrictions are due to take place at the Rockhal arena in February.

Live events have been cancelled around the world since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold at the beginning of 2020. While some artists have come up with innovative ways to perform to fans – with many streamed gigs held and The Flaming Lips even holding “space bubble” shows at the weekend – venues in many countries remain closed and the industry is struggling.

It is hoped the Because Music Matters shows in Luxembourg, organised by the Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA), a lobby group established by the European Arenas Association, could help to create a model to bring live events back.

Capacity will be limited to 100 people per night, with masks compulsory and strict social distancing enforced. The gigs will be seated, with fans placed around a central 360° stage.

Those who attend will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event and again seven days later.

Each night will feature different music, including piano techno, electro-house and metal.

Olivier Toth, chief executive of Rockhal and co-founder of the ARA, said the shows are an “important step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back-to-business strategies”.

Fellow ARA co-founder Robert Fitzpatrick, who is also chief executive of the Odyssey Trust, owners of the SSE Arena in Belfast, said he believes international collaboration can help venues get back to business.

“As the advocacy platform for European arenas, the ARA is proud to provide an opportunity for the industry to come together with key EU decision-makers to prepare for a return to live events, whilst working to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities and the sustainability of our industry, which will be central to the economic and societal recovery of countries across Europe,” he said.

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“Together, we can build regional and national frameworks, with international collaboration that will help us get back to business.”

The shows will take place from 10-14 February and will be hosted in conjunction with the national health inspection authority.

The ARA will also host a virtual conference on 18 February looking into how arenas and large venues across Europe are preparing for a safe and sustainable reopening.

As well as the impact of the pandemic, UK musicians are now facing the added problem of touring visas for Europe following Brexit.

Earlier in January, stars including Liam Gallagher and Sir Elton John were among dozens of music artists who signed a letter calling on the government to resolve the “gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be”.

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Grindr faces £8.6m fine for sharing user data with advertisers without permission | Business News

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Grindr is facing a fine of £11.7m (£8.6m) for its handling of personal user data, Norway’s privacy watchdog has announced.

The country’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) said it had notified the gay dating app of a draft decision to issue the penalty which, it said, was equal to 10% of its annual global revenue.

The watchdog said its proposed fine followed a complaint that personal information was shared with advertisers for marketing purposes without user consent.

OSLO, NORWAY - MAY 31: A Norwegian flag is seen on the occasion of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway's 75th birthday celebration at Oslo Opera House on May 31, 2012 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Getty Images)
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Norway is not part of the European Union but is part of the European Economic Area which ties it to some EU rules

Norway’s Consumer Council had alleged last year that Grindr and five partner companies had violated the European Union’s GDPR privacy rules, to which the country is tied.

The DPA said the data included GPS location, user profile information and even the fact that users are on Grindr, which could reveal their sexual orientation and therefore merit special protection.

Grindr’s spokesman for Norway told local broadcaster NRK that the company looked forward to dialogue with the authorities but gave no further reaction.

Under the country’s rules, Grindr has until 15 February to give a formal response to the finding ahead of a final regulatory decision.

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