Posts Tagged ‘EpiPen’

Letter From New York 08 30 2016 Headed south…

August 30, 2016

The train moves south along a placid Hudson River.  I am only forty minutes out of New York and as we pull into Croton Harmon, sailboats dot the river and bob lightly at anchor.  I am in town for two days to see friends, shoot a pilot with Howard Bloom and then to head home.  I am feeling very mellow this morning.

Relieved I know what I am going to do my first day of class, I am now plotting out the rest of the semester.

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, days that seemed more hectic than I would have expected, with more to do and with unexpected delights.

Claire and Leonard, who almost always sit in front of me in church, offered for me to come by and take vegetables and flowers from their garden.  They are off for two weeks in Greece.  I went over on Friday and harvested from their garden beans and squash, flowers and potatoes, luscious tomatoes, garlic and fresh rosemary.  As we gathered, a light rain fell and it seemed right to be in the garden just then.  For a moment I was much in touch with my body and nature.  A monarch butterfly floated by and rested on a flower near where we stood.  How rarely I see them so closely.

Lionel and Pierre came for the weekend which meant long, delightful dinners with a finish of cleansing vodka and a good “chin wag.”  It feels peaceful in my world.

The rest of the world, not so much.  IS has killed fifty plus in Yemen, a country that has seen 10,000 die in its civil war, according to the UN, a number higher than previously thought.  A suicide bomber struck the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. 6500, sixty-five hundred, migrants have been rescued from the sea near Libya, including a pair of newborn twins.  The number staggers my mind.

Refugees

Venice, it appears, is being destroyed by tourism.  In 65 years, the population has dwindled by two thirds and landmarks are lost to hotels.  The UN may take away its status as a world heritage site.

Gene Wilder, star of one of my favorite films, “Young Frankenstein,” passed away yesterday, of complications from Alzheimer’s.   It saddens me to think of his brilliance falling away, victim to the disease. Who can forget him in “The Producers?” That generation is leaving us.

Gene Wilder

Today in politics, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz must win primaries if they are to stand in the fall for election. At this moment, while the voting goes on, all three are expected to win.

On the way to the train station, I listened to “Democracy Now” with Amy Goodman as she and others did an exegesis of the EpiPen scandal. If you somehow have missed it, EpiPen, a life saving device and drug for those with allergies, has seen its price increase 400% over the last nine years.  There is a public hue and cry about the issue.  One of the women on “Democracy Now” has seen her insurance co-pay for EpiPens swell from $50.00 to $300.00, a price she cannot afford.

There is going to be, I’m sure, a Congressional investigation.  The woman who runs Mylan, the drug company selling EpiPen, is the daughter of a Senator from West Virginia.  She is fighting the demonization of her on social media.

The train is sliding into New York, we have entered the tunnels and will soon be in Penn Station, a place called by New York’s Governor Cuomo, one of the seven levels of hell in Dante’s “Inferno.”

As I exited this “hell,” a lovely middle aged woman stood between Track’s Restaurant and McDonald’s, playing lovely classical music.  I stopped and gave her a dollar for the smile she had given me as I entered the subway.

Letter From New York 08 25 2016 From the banks of Claverack Creek…

August 26, 2016

It has been a grey and gloomy day in Claverack, always threatening to rain but not managing it.  Tomorrow is also supposed to be this way though with more chance of rain.  I was out for a couple of meetings and errands and have been home since then working on a few projects, mostly getting ready to teach Public Speaking in the Fall at Columbia Greene Community College.

It is dark earlier now.  It is not yet 7:15 and the light is leaving quickly.  Behind me is the thrum of the dishwasher; otherwise there is silence.  I told a friend I woke up happy, which I did.

As I lived my quiet day, rescuers in Italy searched the ruins left by a lethal earthquake, looking for survivors as the clock ticks the chances away. Aftershocks rattled them as they searched. At least 250 are dead and another 350+ injured. A Polish immigrant living in the town of Amatrice, said she will remember until she dies “the evil murmur of moving walls.”

Those who have debilitating allergies often carry EpiPens with them, a now common safety device.  Mylan, the company that makes them, has raised the price dramatically as a generic alternative will become available in the not too distant future.  Apparently, this is not unusual for drug companies to wring the last round of profits from a medicine in the months before a generic alternative becomes available.

It happened to me, a few years ago.  Something I was taking suddenly skyrocketed in price and I had to switch to an alternative.

Nine years ago, an EpiPen cost $47, today, $284.  No wonder there is an outcry.  And the EpiPen, it seems, was developed by the US Department of Defense as something for soldiers in the field to use for nerve gas and then it was discovered it worked on allergies.

Congress is talking an investigation.  I have friends who carry them.  In the meantime, people who need them maybe are being out priced from having them.

I love nights like this.  Outside the floodlights illuminate the creek.  Beatrice, my ever growing banana plant, continues her climb to the ceiling.  And I enjoy the tranquility of the cottage.

The Chairman of Vice Media, Shane Smith, who runs the digital behemoth that has attracted investment from Disney and Fox, says that a “digital media crisis is coming.”  Yes, it is.  It has been for twenty years now, growing slowly until it now has become the crisis no one can avoid.  When I was, long ago and far away, working in the cable business no one in broadcasting thought of us as a menace, until we were.  So with digital… It was not a menace, until it was…  The crisis is here and has been from almost the moment it began but media has been an ostrich in the sand.

The political campaigns go on.  I don’t pay much attention right now.  Trump has accused Hillary of being a bigot.  She’s done the same to him.  The beat goes on.  It will until it is over.

Nigel Farage, once head of UKIP and a leader in BREXIT, campaigned today with Trump, basically endorsing him for President.  I am not sure that is going to mean much to Trump’s core constituency…  Or maybe it will mean a lot to that constituency.

As I have been writing this, an email came in.  Vidya, wife of my friend Tim Sparke, let me know he passed away yesterday afternoon.  He waged a remarkable war for years against brain tumors and is now gone.

Hats off, Tim.  You worked to stay for your children and your wife and you went on longer than any of us would have dreamt that you could.  You would not give up.  I was changed by knowing you.  When I was remarkably low eleven years ago you did your best to raise my spirits and cause me to laugh.

You were a generous spirit.  Since you have been sick and I have been going to church, I have been lighting a candle for you and I will again this weekend, to celebrate the wonderful moments we had together, the generosity you gave me and the spirit you were in this world.