The food allergy community is a powerful one, but never before, have we seen it move so swiftly and in such unison as it is around Mylan’s price-gouging, EpiPens and what the community is now calling #Epigate.
I have been part of this demographic for over a decade. Some of the women were in it before me. They are like sisters now. We’ve seen each other through so much.
Never before have I been so impressed by anyone, which is saying a lot, as the community is so talented.
But please meet my friend, Kelly. She’s a single mom of five who just resigned as a spokesperson for EpiPen. Her words are powerful, as you can read below.
As many of you know, I have been a spokeswoman for Mylan for the past two years. I took on the role because I thought I could make a difference. There are few things I care more about than speaking your truth and owning it. Sometimes this has gotten me into trouble, but at the end of the day, truth, kindness and accountability is all that matters. Here is the resignation letter I sent to Mylan executives. I hope they do the right thing:
“As I previously mentioned in an email earlier this week, I must address the serious accusations Mylan is facing in the news. I have kept silent about my position until this email to you now, because I wanted to gather my own data and weigh against my responsibility to advocate as a spokeswoman for Mylan Speciality. However, my primary responsibility is to the food allergy community. Since the day I started my blog many years ago, my sole focus was to be a voice, their voice, and to educate and advocate for my food allergic son, and children like him all over the country. Given the recent allegations over Mylan’s price gouging of EpiPens and unbalanced executive level compensation, I simply cannot align my name with yours on this, and am deeply disappointed in the lack of transparency, especially to your consumers. Saying nothing is irresponsible and unacceptable. Truth in this matter and taking corrective measures is the only solution. And the millions of people who are affected by this deserve a solution immediately.
My responsibility is to educate the food allergy community and advocate for them. I have battled for years (and often with much opposition) with school districts over the issue of providing our kids who have life-threatening medical disabilities, the same rights and access to healthcare, safety guidelines and a “free and appropriate education“ under the ADA umbrella. Access and affordability to epinephrine auto injectors is not optional for our FA children. IT’S CRITICAL. It is the ONLY device that will save our children’s lives in the event of an anaphylactic emergency. As an advocate I tell parents to have an action plan and at least two epinephrine auto injectors on them at all times, because it only takes mere minutes for death to occur without it. Yet, thousands of children across our country WILL be forced to go to school, camps, and even in the safety of their own homes WITHOUT epinephrine. Why? Because they cannot afford it. Even with a $100 co-pay coupon from Mylan.
I am a single mother of five children who, thank God, can afford this medication for my son. However, there are countless other single parents or married parents who will need to choose not filling their prescriptions because it will cost them $300, $600 or even $900. If their monthly income is $800 a month, what can they do? Nothing. And that is what they will do. Nothing. Because they have no other choice. And soon enough, a child’s life will be lost. An innocent child just like my 14-year-old son. And for what? Money? I can’t accept or comprehend this line of thinking. And neither can the tight-knit food allergy community. I am a mother above all else. I will fight like hell for my children’s safety and well-being. The food allergy community is my family. And like my own children, I will fight for them just as hard. I ask that Mylan step up and do the right thing—answer the tough questions, slash the cost, adjust executive level pay and apologize to food allergy parents everywhere for putting their children’s lives at risk by these irresponsible behaviors.
I resign from my position as a spokeswoman for Mylan Speciality effectively immediately.
You can support, reach and contact Kelly at http://www.foodallergymama.com