by Nick Shepard – Staff Editor
Picture this: a family has two children with life threatening food allergies – it is not an unlikely scenario, as food allergies can be passed down genetically.
An Epi-Pen, the life saving drug that can postpone anaphylaxis 10 to 20 minutes, costs only $100. The family figures that with five Epi-Pens on hand at all times, each of their children would have at least roughly an hour to get to a medical center if they were to ingest an allergen. Since they have two kids, they’re only out $1000 per year, since the rough working life of an Epi-Pen is one year.
Suddenly, the Epi-Pen owner, Mylan, jacks the price up 600 percent. Now you’re shelling out $6000 a year – something many families simply cannot afford to do.
In 2014, the median household income in the U.S. was $53,657. If families are in fact paying full price for all of their Epi-Pens, they will be spending roughly 11% of their entire salary. This hypothetical family is not an unlikely one, seeing as there are roughly 15 million Americans with food allergies.
With such a huge portion of a family’s income going towards simply keeping their children alive, it’s hard to imagine how they could even fathom paying for something that’s becoming an increasing necessity to succeed economically in the U.S. – college.
If we want our country to reassert itself as one of the most educated and opportunity-filled countries on the planet, we’ll need to start holding corporate America accountable for their decisions and stop allowing them to choose to do whatever would cut them the biggest profit.
Here’s the kicker – the CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of none other than U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Interesting, isn’t it, that the daughter of a powerful politician, is able to legally make such a poor, cruel decision? With any luck, she’ll be getting cracked down on hard in the coming weeks and months.
The leading seeker of prosecution for Bresch is another U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, whose own daughter carries an Epi-Pen at all times. She’s representative of the silent majority of those with food allergies and their families – except she has a voice on the national stage. With people like her in power and the amount of publicity that is coming as a result of the greed of Bresch and her father, eventually this atrocity will be corrected.
But that’s just one example out of the hundreds of big companies, pharmaceutical or otherwise, who have exploited their consumers at every chance they get. If we want our country to continue to smoothly function economically, we must make the big companies, like Mylan, play fair and look beyond their own bank accounts when pricing their products.