Landon's Story

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How You're Missing the Mark on the "Epi-Pen Problem"

Before this starts, let me just say. I am, myself, affected by the Epi-pen problem, not as greatly as some, but I get "it". I too, have noticed the price increases (though luckily our insurance does cover them), and it is outrageous. So before the internet ‘haters’ are going to hate, let me be clear, I’m not arguing with you. If you think I am, you’re missing the point.

Ever since the first Epi-pen post came up on one of my social media feeds, it’s just “rubbed me wrong”, and by that I mean it’s made me want to reach through the internet and grab people by their shoulders and shake them violently until they gain some insight! Here is why.

This is NOT news! This isn’t some new conspiracy that’s just popped up overnight! This isn’t suddenly a new concept. The problem is not the cost of the Epi-pen, the problem is that you’re allowing the media to let you think that’s the problem, and that it’s suddenly a “new” problem.

The Epi-pen price has been increasing over years, not days, as has the price of just about every other rescue med, daily med, and medical necessity on the market. All of these items have the potential of being JUST as life or death as an Epi-pen, and all of them are way beyond the reach of thousands of people who need them.

I myself have advocated for these issues, and similar ones, since becoming a special needs parent. I also know hundreds of others through special needs networking that have been advocating harder and longer than I. I’ve experienced the judgement that almost always comes along with advocating. Friends and family of ours who have openly, and not so openly, judged our own advocacy through the last few years have suddenly posted several of these epi-pen articles and news updates.

On one side of things, this is great. Finally, something has gotten through to the world. All of this advocating we’ve been doing while fighting through the judgement is finally paying off. On the other side, it’s beyond upsetting. The world has finally crossed that line into understanding even just a fraction of what the special needs community goes through, and yet they are entirely missing the point.

The problem is not Epi-pens. The problem is these policies have been around for so long, and are upheld by such powerful and “popular” people, that nobody has been listening to the minority of us this entire time. This could have been fixed long ago if even just a few more people had stopped judging the special needs advocators, and started listening to and supporting them. Tens of thousands of people have been, and still are, drowning in these policies at a way greater cost than a couple of Epi-pens.

I’m not saying don’t fix the Epi-pen problem. I’m saying start looking at the big picture and fix thousands of problems at once, before it’s too late.