You probably have seen the news reports about outrageous price increases for lifesaving EpiPens. What can you do about it? Read the message below from Patricia Forrai-Gunter, a school nurse from Cleveland, Ohio, who serves on the AFT Nurses and Health Professionals Policy and Planning Council—and then heed her call to take action:
As a school nurse, I’ve seen the anguish on students’ faces as they realize they’re starting to have an allergic reaction. They’re terrified, as their tongues swell up, they break out in hives and their breathing becomes labored.
When this happens, I know I only have seconds to ensure that the child gets a dose of epinephrine, using an EpiPen. My school district doesn’t stock EpiPens. So we can only hope parents send their children to school with this lifesaving device.
You’ve probably read about the spike in EpiPen prices, but you might not have heard this: Hedge fund manager and top Donald Trump donor John Paulson, one of Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ biggest investors, may be profiting from the jump in prices.
In the United States, 3.6 million people have an EpiPen prescription to treat severe allergic reactions.
Paulson has invested $1 billion in Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the company that owns EpiPen, making him one of its biggest investors. Since Paulson’s firm began massive investment in Mylan, the price of this crucial drug has spiked—by 32 percent over the past year and by a whopping 450 percent since 2007. Hedge funds and private equity are closely linked to spiking drug costs. According to an analysis by Hedge Clippers, a national campaign exposing Wall Street’s greed-driven agenda, hedge funds or other private equity investments were involved in 20 of 25 recent drug-cost spikes.
Most families simply can’t afford to pay $600 for EpiPens. As a school nurse, it sickens me to see hedge fund profiteering as families and children lose access to this lifesaving medication.
The price gouging of EpiPens is a matter of life and death for millions of people, including my students. When a student shows signs of anaphylaxis, an EpiPen quickly halts the symptoms. But if the drug is no longer affordable, the only alternative is to call emergency medical services and hope they arrive in time.