Teresa is a hairstylist in San Antonio, Texas and a mom of two children, one of which has special needs. In October of 2015, she was administered an immunotherapy injection by her General Practitioner for allergies that were resulting in serious and chronic sinus and upper respiratory infections. As a result and with the first full injection, she went into Anaphylaxis. She was administered a life saving EpiPen injection while awaiting an ambulance to take her to the hospital. Had she not had the injection. She would have suffocated as her sinus cavity, tongue and eyes were rapidly swelling shut.
At the time, Teresa’s treatment was covered by her husband’s employer-sponsored health insurance policy, which had reasonable deductibles. Since she divorced, she’s had to get private insurance that she pays for on her limited income as a hairstylist.
Because of her experience, Teresa knows she should be carrying EpiPens with her at all times, but insurance won’t cover the cost. The astronomical price– often ranging $600-700–means she can’t replace her existing EpiPens which are now expired. Teresa doesn’t know what using an expired EpiPen injection would do–or if it will work in case she needs it–but she has no choice.
Teresa has friends in other countries who simply can’t believe that something as basic as an EpiPen would cost a patient anything out of pocket. EpiPens can cost as much as nine times more in the United States than they do in other wealthy countries. In other countries people pay more taxes but they get comprehensive healthcare that is not based on whether or not you can afford it, but on your medical needs. Here, we give tax breaks to drug corporations that price gouge us on basic medicines that developed with taxpayer funding–like EpiPens.
Teresa believes that life-saving medicines like Epinephrine should be free, or at the very least affordable for everyone. Drug corporations with a history of price-gouging should not have the power to determine whether or not someone lives or dies because of access to medicines.
Teresa is a member of MomsRising.org.