Flashback to 1996

My brother is allergic to peanuts. We found out when he was 3 and ate a peanut butter cookie. His throat closed up and he started turning blue. Fortunately we were able to get him to the hospital where they shot him with epinephrine and saved his life.

20 years later

He goes to the pharmacy to pick up epi pens. To his surprise, the pens cost $560; his insurance no longer covered a necessary medication. He had to pay a week of wages for something that is mandatory.His story is not a unique one. The cost of the epi pen has risen exponentially from $56 dollars to $500in the past 9 years.

Insurances have decided to stop covering the medication, leaving the burden on the people.

There are alternative options

They are called Patient Assistance Programs. Manufacturers of medicationshave programs for people that meet certain criteria to get their medicationfree. Mylan (the manufacturer of Epi Pen) has a program that can get people the pens for free.I am not kidding, there isn't any catch. You don't know about it because why would the manufacturers advertise that there is a cheaper option? They won't be able to make as much profit. It's as easy as finding the manufacturer of your medication, calling their assistance program, and filling out the paperwork.

Why it matters

We've heard of "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli jacking up the cost of Daraprim (to treat toxoplasmosis in HIV patients) over5,000 percent.

We've also heard about William J. Hagerwho killed his wife because he couldn't afford her medical bills. Two different sides of the same problem.

With the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, some people have to choose between eating and getting their medications. Even the Affordable Care Act hasn't lived up to the promise of reasonable insurance.

Some people opt out of a mandatory insurance because they can't afford it, or it's not worth receiving little coverage for their very expensive medication.

People have died because they can't afford their medication. That's outrageous! In 1993 Harvard published a study that claimed that 45,000 people a year died because of lack of health insurance.

It is not okay that Mr. Shkreli sits in his New York penthouse while others are contemplating killing themselves or their loved ones because they can't afford to take care of themselves. It's unacceptable.

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