My oldest son has allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Since he was about a year and a half old, we’ve been reading labels and keeping annual appointments with a pediatric allergist and watching – carefully and not without fear – as he endured biannual “peanut challenges.” We’ve filled prescriptions for the emergency medication commonly known as the EpiPen, in case he comes into contact with nuts and/or peanut products. In fact, when we were vacationing in Virginia Beach during the summer of 2008, we had to use one as soon as we realized that our chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A were cooked in peanut oil. Luckily we were a short distance from the hospital where he was placed on observation for a couple of hours in Emerg, coming through relatively unscathed.
EpiPens have never been inexpensive, even with my workplace health insurance.
We know we are not the only allergy family incensed by media reports that Mylan Pharmaceuticals, makers of the EpiPen in the US and for Pfizer in Canada; has raised the wholesale price from $56.64 to $317.82, an increase of 461 per cent. Not only that, but the CEO, Heather Bresch, received a salary bump from a paltry $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, an increase of 671 percent.
Shades of Martin Shkreli, anyone?
All mention of the Pharma Bro (Shkreli) and the newly-minted Pharma Sis (Bresch) aside, or the controversial granting of a MBA to Bresch by West Virginia University, even though she reportedly did not complete the coursework; this latest attempt by a pharmaceutical company to price gouge the consumer cannot stand.
We all need to make our voices heard. My son, impressively civic-minded in the latter days of his youth, has created an online petition that you can access here:
Please take a minute or two so that the people who need this drug might soon be able to access it fairly and as cost-effectively as possible.