Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Price Ain't Right

If the name Steven Adler rings a bell (or bangs a cymbal) with you, it's because he's the drummer mainly famous for being thrown out of Guns N' Roses for using too many drugs too much.

And that's like being asked to leave Old Country Buffet for eating too much meatloaf.

For years, I have kept Adler's name in my mind because I think that's the classic example of pots calling kettles black, but now we have a new one.  

You've heard about the commotion over the Mylan pharmaceutical company raising the price on its EpiPens, the medication for children and others dealing with potentially deadly allergic reactions.  Mylan currently has no real competition in the market - the other company that makes a similar product had a massive recall wipe out their inventory - and so, capitalists being capitalists, they raised the price of an item that can save a person's life by a stunning 544.77 percent (from $56.64 in 2007 to $365.16 PER PEN now).  I mean, there was a chance to make some big money, right? Too bad for all those who might die from accidental peanut ingestion or bee stings, but Mylan is going to fatten their coffers while the sun shines.

At least one in 50 Americans have had this type of allergic reaction. It is called anaphylaxis, and it can be fatal. Mylan is "forcing many families to gamble with their children's lives, when your costs haven't gone up," as one person said on Facebook. 

We learned as kids selling lemonade that if you can get 20 cents a cup and then find people will just as willingly shell out a quarter for a drink that costs you 3 cents to produce, you pocket the extra nickel.  No biggie. 

But when you are forcing families who might not have the resources or insurance to cover this insane expense (the same product is much less expensive all over Europe and Canada), then you are playing with other people's lives for a huge
pile of nickels.

It's fine by me if you support gouging people to feather your own nests, but you have to stop and think how it felt when people such as Axl Rose, Slash, and Izzy Stradlin (I love it when someone's name is also a question) came to tell Adler he was doing too much dope.

Or imagine this: Martin Shkreli, the weaselly guy who, as head of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, raised the price of his malaria and HIV medicine Darapim from $13.50 to $750, has weighed in on all this.

"These guys are really vultures. What drives this company's moral compass?" Shkreli remarked to NBC News.

There are people among us who dare not walk even to the mailbox without their EpiPen, and when they feel the same way that Martin Shkreli does about a company, maybe that company should look around a little.

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