My blog is usually a happy place where political comment is avoided. There is enough of that online. But I have been silent about this for several years now. And to see this finally in the news makes me joyful and gives me hope that something will be done. Because I have had to use an Epipen with my daughter, I felt compelled to make a statement and to tell Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan Global Pharmaceutical company that what her company did is very very wrong.
Today I learned that Heather Bresch is a mother to four children and that surprised me. I figured that a fellow mother wouldn’t run a company that raised the cost of the life saving EpiPen over 400%. Perhaps Ms Bresch hasn’t felt the white knuckled, knee buckling fear and gut wrenching experience of seeing a child have a life threatening allergy episode.
I have. It is terrifying and I can still remember the sick pit I felt in my stomach but knew I had no time to feel. I had to act.
Fast. Very fast!
I will never forget how all the blood rushed to my heart as I lost color to my face all the while telling my child and myself not to panic. That moment after only two licks of icing on a cupcake at a bakery. When the next thing she did was to put her small 9-year-old hands around her throat. She then asked me if that cupcake contained cashews. A cupcake? I didn’t think so but then I saw the nice man behind the counter also turn pale as he answered yes.
An absolute Momfail that I am ashamed of! The fact that I had forgot to ask about the ingredients. But there was no time to feel anything but terror and worry.
My daughter, who was 9 years old at the time knew instantly. She knew within seconds that she had ingested the enemy ingredient. The food that could take her forever away from this world. From me. From her family. Even writing this and recalling it makes my stomach ache.
I quickly gave her Benedryl and rushed next door to the urgent care ER…what a stroke of luck that an ER happened to be next door to the bakery!
When you are an allergy patient you are moved to the front of the line and immediately escorted into the emergency room. Right then and there the magical Epipen was swiftly poked into her leg followed by an IV with steroids.
This has been the scariest experience of my life. And even more so for my child.
We understood after this day that the cashew nut wasn’t messing around with us. It is deadly to my daughter no questions asked. It just is. Plain and simple. She CAN NOT consume cashews ever. She MUST have an Epipen.
And because of this experience, I keep multiple Epipens in our lives. In our home. In my car. In my daughter’s backpack. An extra one is kept with the nurse at her school. I am one of the lucky ones who can afford the $633.00 price tag for two life saving Epipens.
A few years ago, before any of the uproar that is finally and thankfully happening this week, we went out of town to our family’s home for the holidays. We realized on arrival that the EpiPen was accidentally left behind. So we rushed to the nearest Walgreens. The last time I had purchased the Epipen, it had cost me a little over $100. The cashier told me that the total would be over $1,000! I knew something was amiss so inside the store we went.
Both the cashier and the pharmacist kept trying to call our insurance because all felt that it was an error. The insurance rep on the other end of the phone also felt certain that this couldn’t be right. But it was. The only confusion was that the register was ringing up two orders. I only needed one so that brought the price down to $600. I was in disbelief.
Truly shocked. But we have to have the Epipen. It is nonnegotiable for our family. For my girl.
For us, we used our health savings account card and figured that we would reach our annual deductible that much faster now. So we paid our money and went to bed with the reassurance that our daughter’s most important belonging was back in our possession.
But in the morning I felt so angry. How could such a life saving med that can be the difference between life and death in mere minutes have such a steep price increase? A price hike so absurd and heartless that many families would be priced out of a med that is an absolute must have.
How could Mylan and Ms Bresch force some parents to play Russian Roulette with their kids because they do not have the funds to pay for the Epipen?! I was just stunned and so confused by this.
So finally this week, it makes the headlines. It is about time. I read the multiple articles and I signed the petition that asks to stop the immoral price gouging for the life-saving Epipen. You can sign that here.
I encourage you to do so as you never know when a life threatening allergy becomes a part of your life. No one else in our family has or had a cashew allergy. Discovering that our daughter did as a toddler was very surprising and came out of nowhere, truly.
I won’t go into the political side of this. Mylan and Ms. Bresch are finally under a media and social media microscope and questions are being asked about how this could happen. Rightfully so. So while this gets figured out or gets swept under the political rug…oh I fear that it will…I have one wish.
I will wish for the means and funds to be available to families to be able to afford the oh so mighty Epipen. I will wish that Ms Bresch and Mylan will show some heart and put the price back to where it was, when $100 was still pricey, but seems oh so cheap now. Sadly.
I would not wish on anyone…not my worst enemy…the panic I felt that scary day when two licks from a cashew cupcake icing recipe caused my poor girl and her weary mother to react fast and to be thankful that her Epipen was on hand, even if it was the ER who administered it to her leg. We had it handy right then and there and now we know how to use it.
Oh I pray that we never have to use it again.
And it breaks my heart to know that a child may feel physically, emotionally and mentally scared to the core between that crucial moment of having a terrifying and literally suffocating allergic reaction and the quick poke of a life saving medication. What a shame that the Epipen is the only option at this time.
And to think of a situation where a child is lost due to not having an Epipen.
I can’t even go there.
So COME ON Mylan and Ms Heather Bresch…
Please make it affordable again. For the children.