Sometimes They Really ARE Out To Get You: Allergies, EpiPens, Playgrounds & Price Gouging

Back in my teens (late 60s-mid 70s), a popular poster displayed the following statement: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they AREN’T out to get you”. I think it’s still fairly popular – not to mention relevant – today.

First, as most people already know, the EpiPen, a portable injector absolutely essential to people with life endangering allergies, has undergone an astronomical price increase, making it unaffordable to many uninsured or underinsured families. Here’s info from one of the many articles dealing with this health crisis:

Doctors and patients are blasting the Mylan pharmaceutical corporation for hiking up the price of their signature EpiPen product from around $100 in 2008 to a staggering $500 and up today — a 400% increase.

“I see it firsthand that a lot people call me and tell me they can’t afford the medicine,” Dr. Douglas McMahon, an allergist based in Maplewood, Minnesota, told the Daily News. “This is the only life-saving medicine they can use for this and it puts a lot of restraint on them. People will have to make lifestyle changes if they can’t afford this.”

The portable device can prevent allergic reactions from potentially fatal incidents like bee stings or peanut ingestions.

Make no mistake: People will die because of this price increase and some of them will be children. When that happens, coroner should put “Coporate Greed” as cause of death. Corporate greed isn’t just targeting people with life-endangering allergies; it’s also impacting insulin-dependent people with diabetes:

From 2011 to 2013 the wholesale price of insulin went up by as much as 62 percent. From 2013 to 2015 the price jumped again, from a low of 33 percent to as much as 107 percent, said Dr. Mayer Davidson, professor of medicine at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, who has carefully tracked the rapid and repeated increases.

“This borders on the unbelievable,” Davidson said, citing an extremely concentrated insulin which “in 2001 had the wholesale price of $45. By last year, the cost had skyrocketed to $1,447” for the same monthly supply.

Susan Pierce, a diabetes educator at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill Hospital, said she’s seeing similar increases, with her patients reporting that the cost of their insulin is doubling, tripling or worse.

I have a lot of friends on the front lines of fighting for survival in this greed-dominated system of healthcare who embrace the slogan “Capitalism Kills.” I do know that greed kills and it seems that the current climate in Washington is to let greed run free – no matter who dies.

And while greed may not be a factor, news from Toronto indicates that kids with peanut allergies may be being targeted there:

Police are investigating another report of peanut butter smeared across playground equipment in a Toronto park — the fifth such recent incident.

Toronto Police said the latest incident occurred at Wadsworth Park, near Davenport Road and Laughton Avenue, on Wednesday. It was the first case that was formally reported to police.

“It is the only report of any peanut butter, anywhere in the city, at any park, on file at the Toronto Police,” said Jenifferjit Sidhu, a Toronto Police media relations officer. “When we got there, it was already cleaned up.”

The article includes statements from parents and others expressing concern over the possibility of kids with peanut allergies having deadly allergic reactions to skin contact with peanut butter smeared on playground equipment.

Corporate greed, potentially deadly vandalism. It’s a new world that makes some of my posters from the late 1960s more relevant than ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *