An Open Letter to Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch
On May 21, 2015, I had the scare of a lifetime. I watched as my almost 2-year-old son gasped for air as his airways narrowed from ingesting a tiny morsel of peanut butter. Thank god I carried an EpiPen on me at all times. But, the truth is I never anticipated having to use it. And, when the original prescription was called into our pharmacy last year and the pharmacist advised us that it would cost $500 a pack, my husband and I almost fainted. He had never had an anaphylactic reaction before, so why would he need an EpiPen? Knowing that we may potentially need to use it during a life-threatening emergency, we paid.
Have you ever seen a child go into anaphylactic shock? Where a child needed to make an immediate trip to the emergency department and required an injection of epinephrine? If anaphylaxis isn’t treated right away, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death. And, I watched my very own child reach that point. My son would not be alive right now if it weren’t for an EpiPen, and I can say that confidently.
Have you seen a child break out in a severe rash? Cough like they have been a smoker for fifty years? Gag and vomit in agony and pain? Have you witnessed a child ambulanced and rushed to a hospital in hopes his life could be saved? I have. And it was my child. He was suffering, and needed that EpiPen. Have you seen a child suffer from post traumatic stress disorder at the age of three because he watched as his baby brother stopped breathing in the car? I have. And it was my other child.
So, I am asking for your explanation. If you know how many millions of people rely on this medicine and injection to save their lives, then why did your pay increase from $2,453,456 in 2007 to $18,931,068 in 2015? In that time, the wholesale cost of an EpiPen has gone from $56.64 to $317.82. We are aware the cost of a 1 ml amp of epinephrine is $4.49. So, please explain how the cost of an EpiPen could possibly increase that significantly, along with your salary?
Do you realize the amount of anxiety I, as a parent, have in regards to my child having another anaphylactic reaction?
Do you know the fear I have if he is in school, and EpiPens aren’t accessible or dispersed throughout buildings because of the cost?
Do you know how many families are risking lives because they just can’t afford this life-saving drug?
For a medication that costs $4.49, why are you forcing patients and families who may not have insurance to make a decision that could lead to death?
These Epipens save lives. It has been proven time and time again. They should be available at an affordable cost to patients, families, caregivers, buildings, and facilities; they should be everywhere.
I understand you are a hard working CEO who is deserving of a comfortable salary. I can appreciate all you do as a career driven individual. But, seriously, is what you are doing fair and justified?
I do not believe so.
Mother of a child who suffered from anaphylaxis, and was saved by an EpiPen.
For more details, and a news story we were featured in on WBALTV, please click here.