In-Depth: Aller-geez!

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EpiPen price inflation hits home with Marian students

nataliekemler

*Due to HIPAA restrictions, we are not allowed to directly quote any students on the specific details of their allergies.

We might first have had the idea of a profit explained to us by our parents in terms of running a lemonade stand: It costs 10 cents to make a cup of lemonade and you charge 25 cents, so you make a profit of 15 cents. The CEO of Mylan, the producer of EpiPen, makes profit that is much larger than the profit a child receives from a lemonade stand. For a two pack of EpiPens, the cost is around $380.

According to TIME magazine, $1 worth of epinephrine, the life-saving ingredient, is used in each EpiPen, and it only costs around $30 to produce the device. The price has risen about 400 percent from when Mylan acquired the product in 2007.

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Without insurance, the EpiPen can be unaffordable for many who need it to save their life. The CEO, Heather Bresch, has received criticism about this price increase. Bresch has promised to lower the price, but no price decrease has happened as of now. CNBC reported that Bresch blames the price increases on “a broken healthcare system that incentivizes higher prices.”

One Marian student needed this life-saving injection her sophomore year.

Mr. Peter Cunningham was telling his math class about his engagement, when this student began to cough, and was unable to breathe, later learned to be due to asthma-related issues.

“Emergency Response Team to Room 316” was spoken over the intercom. The class fell silent.

The student was then wheeled to the office in a wheelchair, where the ambulance was called. Then, Mrs. Melissa Brusnahan, Athletic Trainer and Emergency Response Team Member, called the her mom to ask if it was okay to administer the EpiPen injection. After receiving approval, Brusnahan injected her with the EpiPen.

The student doesn’t remember being scared, because she knew the EpiPen was saving her life, but she does remember how painful the injection was. This student and her brother both need EpiPens, so she understands how expensive they can be. This student said, “Some people don’t have the money; it’s not right.”

Another student has needed an EpiPen four times, with the most recent being when she was 13. The culprit? beedeeAn EOS lip balm. This student, like her classmate, recalls “feeling safe” when being injected because she knew it was saving her life. She describes the price of EpiPens as a problem. “There definitely should be a price adjustment,” the student said.

Another student has needed to inject herself twice with an EpiPen. In both situations, her severe reaction was caused by consuming cashews. She describes the price as “ridiculous… They [EpiPens] are saving people’s lives; some people have to use EpiPens often and they can’t help it.”

Each EpiPen user agreed that the price for something that many need to save his or her life should be changed. Allergies that cause these reactions cannot always be controlled, and no one should be financially punished for having a life-threatening allergy.

Even with insurance, EpiPens are an expensive necessity for those with serious allergies. Most people can agree that no one should be paying hundreds of dollars for something that takes only $30 to make.


Pick Ah-choose!

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Survey Says…

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How to react to a reaction

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No gluten doesn’t mean no fun

elliemulligan

*Due to HIPAA restrictions, we are not allowed to directly quote any students on the specific details of their allergies.

Imagine that one day, you feel a little ill. You head to the doctor, get your temperature taken, maybe they prick you with one of those needles, and then they break the news: you have an autoimmune disease widely known as Celiac disease.

Maybe you saw this coming. Maybe you had no idea. Maybe your head is spinning at the idea of no more grilled cheese.

For people who have Celiac disease, your life doesn’t necessarily become duller, it just becomes 10 percent more inconvenient.

To put it into everyday terms, gluten is basically a protein found most commonly in wheat, barley, rye, and malt–gluten is the reason that dinner rolls are stretchy.

Every trip to a restaurant now requires a Q&A before you end up choosing a salad because it’s the easiest option, but then you have to worry about cross contamination and by the time you get your food, you kind of just want to go home.

For someone who has Celiac disease, it doesn’t seem very glamorous. Add in everyone’s preconceived notions about people who abstain from gluten, and the entire thing becomes an ordeal.

Today’s society is all about fad diets. Whether it’s drinking maple syrup and lemon juice or eating nothing but iceberg lettuce, there’s an emphasis on staying fit now more than ever. And one of the more popular diets seems to be going gluten free.

So why do people willingly choose not to eat gluten?

onlinegraphOne student who has Celiac disease says, “What’s difficult about Celiac disease is that it’s difficult to plan your meals. The reality is, gluten is not going to make you ‘fat’. Being more conscious about your food is a good diet plan, but cutting gluten out just for the fun of it is not.”

Today, gluten free foods are a lot easier to find in any ordinary grocery store; ten years ago, gluten free pizza would be nearly impossible to find, but the demands of fad diets have turned it into common freezer food, accessible to just about everyone.

A balanced diet is important, but gluten isn’t necessarily unhealthy. “If someone were to buy a gluten free cookie, it would actually probably have more sugar in it to compensate for taste,” she added.

Essentially, if you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, definitely abstain. And if you choose not to eat it, go ahead! The difference lies within knowing the facts: just because gluten is bad for some people doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone! So if you don’t have Celiac disease, go ahead and reach for that bagel!

And if you are a Celiac, don’t feel bad. There’s a whole world of food out there for you to get to know!

One response to “In-Depth: Aller-geez!

  1. Wow! I really like this…it’s a fun title, and a captivating intro to read further. I also like the analogy of a lemonade stand to explain profit. Good job!

    Like

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