You are hiking down a remote jungle trail in some country where there is quicksand — that legendary kind of quicksand from which there is no escape — when you come across a woman who is hip deep and sinking slowly.
“Oh thank God,” she says when she sees you.
She looks familiar. You smile and ask her name.
“Heather Bresch,” she says.
It takes a moment to register. “Heather Bresch? The CEO of Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that makes the EpiPen?”
“Yes,” she says as she struggles against the quicksand and sinks a little deeper. “I’m vacationing in this country, and I left my luxury villa to take a little walk and this happened. I need help.”
“Clearly you do,” you say. “I’m happy to provide assistance.”
“If you could get that fallen tree limb over there and pass it to me, I think I could pull myself out,” she says, sinking up to the waist as she points.
You walk over and pick up one end of it. “This one?” you say.
“Yes,” she says. “Hurry please.”
You begin sliding the tree limb in her direction.
“This one is $10 million,” you say.
She laughs uncomfortably. “Please, hurry,” she says.
“I’m serious,” you say.
“That’s ridiculous,” she says. “It’s just a tree limb.”
“The EpiPen save lives,” she says.
“So might this stick, if used as directed,” you respond.
Up to her chest in quicksand, she promises to give you the money when she gets out, but you tell her you need it up front.
She struggles to dig into her pockets, causing her to sink up to her neck. As she pulls cash out of her pockets and flings it in your direction, she explains that the six-fold increase in the price of EpiPens was necessary.
“Mylan has spent millions on research and development of the product,” she says. “You can’t expect us to pay for all that ourselves.”
“Oh, so you invented Epinephrine?”
“Well, no, but we’ve spent a lot of money perfecting our sophisticated self-delivery system — in which you plunge a needle in your own leg and push down on the stopper, administering a pre-measured, life-saving dosage.”
“And if people just measured their own, and used an old fashioned syringe, what would be the actual cost?” you ask.
“Oh, maybe about $2.29, but that’s not the point. The point is much effort and significant expense went into creating that delivery system — things like shipping and handling and lobbying and designer white lab coats, all part of our noble effort to keep people from dying from allergic reactions to bee stings and such.”
She throws a final fistful of cash out of the quicksand. “There,” she says, “that’s $10 million. Now please slide that stick to me.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” you say. “The $10 million price was five minutes ago. It has gone up since then – to $20 million.”
“That’s more than I make in a year,” she protests.
“We are not talking about my salary,” she says. “Now, please, the stick. Anyone can hand someone a stick. It costs nothing.”
“Bear in mind,” you say, as the quicksand rises to her mouth, “you are not so much paying for the stick as you are paying for the delivery system. Just look at me as a monopoly providing a needed service. And the cool part is I just stumbled upon my monopoly. I didn’t need help from my senator-father, or to spend millions lobbying for it.”
You watch as the quicksand covers her nose, and then her eyes.
As the top of her head disappears, you plunge the stick into the muck. She grabs on and hauls herself out. Though coughing and exhausted, she manages a laugh, and you are pretty sure you hear her call you a “sucker.”
She crawls about picking up her money as you walk away — but not before noticing an anaconda is slithering up to her from behind, and an alligator is creeping towards her from the river, and a swarm of Zika-carrying mosquitoes is headed her way.
You are not worried about her. She is where she belongs:
With all the other predators.
Posted: August 26th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 19 million, allergies, ceo, costs, death, drugs, epinephrine, epipen, fable, fetch, fictional, gouging, health, heather bresch, insurance, mylan, pharma, pharmaceuticals, predators, quicksand, salary, stick