Thursday, 22 March 2012

Epi-Pens Distribution in Malaysia Discontinued

Dear MERCK,

I am a 34 year old female who met death 3 years ago due to an anaphylactic reaction. Suffice to say, the Epi-Pen saved my life. In fact, it saved my life TWICE, as I had ANOTHER anaphylactic shock months down the road.

The very disturbing thing is that I have found out that there are currently NO distributors for the Epi-Pen in Malaysia. I have been scouring clinics, asking doctors to help me look high and low for Epi-Pens, asking pharmacists to look for ways to obtain the Epi-Pen to no avail. Apparently the sales of Epi-Pens in Malaysia is low and with its short life-span, no one wants to be the distributor. So my question to you MERCK, is why can't you bypass the distributors, go directly and sell them to hospitals. There are hospitals which DO NOT have Epi-Pens in stock. I know this because I went to the pharmacy and asked them.  A student of an ex-colleague of mine had to go all the way to Australia to get her Epi-Pens! And this was in November 2011! It is sad that there is a huge MERCK company in Malaysia and yet people have to go all the way to Australia to buy their Epi-Pens.

So today, I finally found one hospital who said that they could help me. Don't smile so fast. Here is the catch. I have to wait for more than one month for my order to arrive!

Let me illustrate a situation for you. If a new patient with anaphylaxis winds up in hospital and with all the luck in the whole universe, manages to survive and gets discharged but has to wait for more than one month for an Epi-Pen. How is this person equipped to deal with another anaphylaxis attack?! It is equivalent to sending a soldier into the battle fields with no armour. So if I get another anaphylactic attack and use up my Epi-Pens, I have to wait for more than a month to get my refill?! Where is the logic in that? It is equivalent to sending me to my death. I was even told by a pharmacist to 'try to rush to the nearest hospital as fast as possible!' I had thought that my hearing had gone wrong for that moment. Rush to the hospital? By the time I reach the hospital, I would be ready to be buried six feet under! I am sure that you MERCK understand what an anaphylaxis is since you are selling the Epi-Pens. Right?

Now MERCK, I noticed that that your motto is 'Be Well'. How can I be alive, what more well, if I cannot have my Epi-Pens with me, ensuring that I have time to rush to the ER to be saved. The Epi-Pen was invented to give people time to rush to the hospital to be saved. Before the Epi-Pen was invented, there was no chance for a person with anaphylaxis. You know that.

I saw this on your website and I will quote it here.

'We try to remember that the medicine is for the patient. We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we remember that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered that, the larger they have been.'
George W. Merck, December 1950
President of MERCK 1925 - 1950
Chairman of MERCK 1949 - 1957

So MERCK, resolve this issue ASAP. People like me need our EPi-Pens to ensure our survival.  




10 comments:

  1. Has anyone given you a reason why they discontinued them? Do you have any supply?

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    Replies
    1. Low-demand and short expiry dates. I still have two. Expires in two months. I have to find a solution in two months.

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    2. Keep writing. Maybe send notification of your funeral in advance with an invitation to newspapers, government agencies, hospital administrators, Merck officials, etc...that'll get someone's attention. Emphasize those who will survive you: loving husband, adorable child, worried parents...make it really heart wrenching so they understand the ramifications of losing a life because someone didn't think having Epi-pens in Malaysia was worth the cost.

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    3. I've been looking for books on salicylate sensitivity. Can't find any. Why don't you write one? In between the informative chapters include the myths/metaphors/stories you write illustrating what it's like.

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    4. Money-lovers have no ability to feel compassion or remorse. What is one life to them?

      I have to look in my list. I got it somewhere. You need to buy them online. I'll send them to you later. To write about it would take me awhile. A lot of research to be done! :)

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    5. Evelyn,
      Hi there--It's Cyndy again. I was just wondering why your son has an epi-pen? Is it just for precautionary measures? Or does he too have allergies and reactions. My daughter who is eight has hay fever and other respiratory issues. She developed asthma and is on steroid inhaler through this season. I have been wondering if I should get her an epi-pen just for safety reasons. I look forward to hearing your feedback. I appreciate you so much. Blessings of health, Cyndy

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    6. Joel had a severe allergy reaction about 2 years back when he was given a new antibiotic which he had never taken before. It was Cephalaxin. He swelled up in less than 2 minutes and he was bright red like a boiled lobster. We rushed him to the ER and he was given steroids and antihistamine shots. This resulted in him wearing the Medic Alert.

      And when he was smaller, he would react to many, many, many things that I lost count. He required steroids to stop the severe hives. Even an insect bite caused his ear to swell so badly that it didn't look like an ear at all! And that required steroids to bring it down. And he had citrus fruits that burned his mouth and caused him severe throat itching!

      Thus, his pediatrician recommended that he carry an Epi just in case his allergy becomes an anaphylactic attack. Whatmore with a mother with a history like mine!

      He has overcome many of the allergies but still safe is better than sorry. Maybe for a few more years until he is 10. Then if he is ok, then I'll talk to his pediatrician about carrying an Epi for him.

      I guess you should consult your daughter's pediatrician regarding a Epi for her.

      Take care and all the best! :)
      Stay safe and rest as much as you can.

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    7. Thank you, Evelyn- I will discuss with her pediatrician. Seems to me like she is following in my footsteps with allergies. She is on medicines and inhalers...The only reaction she had was to pineapple, which she has tested positive for being allergic. She said her tongue burned and got itchy, which is no good. But I'm glad that was it. I will ask the doctor about the epi pen. Yes, better safe than sorry. I agree. Blessings to you and your boy and hubby, Cyndy

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    8. Thanks Cyndy for the blessings! Stay strong. You can do it.

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  2. maggie.danhakl@healthline.com30 October 2014 at 16:46

    Hi Evelyn,

    I hope all is well with you. Healthline just published an infographic detailing the effects of anaphylaxis on the body. This is an interactive chart allowing the reader to pick the side effect they want to learn more about.

    You can see the overview of the report here: http://www.healthline.com/health/anaphylaxis/effects-on-body

    Our users have found our guide very useful and I thought it would be a great resource for your page: http://therighttobealive.blogspot.com/2012/03/epi-pens-distribution-in-malaysia.html

    I would appreciate it if you could review our request and consider adding this visual representation of the effects of anaphylaxis to your site or sharing it on your social media feeds.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
    www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

    About Us: corp.healthline.com

    ReplyDelete