By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
August 28, 2016
So I have been following this EpiPen fiasco this past week, and I have to tell you, this is just the beginning. In case you need some details, the company that created this life saving device, which can halt a bad allergic reaction with a dash of epinephrine, decided to up the price for these devices to a shade over 600 clams. Having no real clue about the world of allergies and what not, I would have never guessed something like this would cost so much, much less deserve a hike. This is the sort of corporate espionage story that I like, for it has all the elements to help me understand my full on stance against Big Pharma. From the fact the CEO gave herself a large hike in her salary as well as selling off five million worth of shares, proves this was a long con. First they built up the need to have these devices in all schools, in public places and any place that has a need for public first aid. Get everybody hooked on the product, get contracts laid out for long term use and build up a massive PR campaign to establish the need for such an already expensive device. Use children and the elderly as the focal points, make it a dire consequence of some sort if people don’t invest in this product. And then spring the announcement during a rather contentious news cycle, one where the backlash will be swift but the bored and lazy masses will start fighting over whether a back-up quarterback stood for the national anthem or not. Or whether the Cubs might win the World Series. Or maybe get angry over the death of a child in New Mexico. I commend Mylan, for this is something David Mamet would have thought up and executed to a “T.” Eventually people will forget, stop caring, and then go back to posting videos where cats are replacing everyday products or else get angry about something else. The price won’t change, school districts will be forced to squeeze more money for them. Heck, they might even start a contract system where if you purchase a 10-year contract, it will only cost you 400 bucks! Remember the whole shebang with Martin Shkreli? He had the attitude to hike up a life saving drug for AIDs patients and then boast about it on national television. Despite all the crap he took and his arrest for unrelated reasons, the guy is still popular for his “hater” attitude, rebuilding a new more interesting life as a professional jerk (a role he is suited for). But the price of Daraprim is still holding steady at $750 dollars per pill, and no one really cares anymore. In fact, no one seemed to care about the price hikes he did on previous pills. He could be in hog heaven right now racking up CEO dollars rather than Youtube and social media money if he had just kept his mouth shut…but that is what you get when you give a 33-year old idiot a platform.
I’m not gonna dedicate my blog to talking about Big Pharma and the uncouth practices it partakes in. I’ll let the more informed professionals on the matter do their freaking job, which they have been lacking in because there are multiple headlines on the subjects with a simple shrug mentality of “this happens a lot.” So I will say this one thing to you my readers….how many pills are you forced to take due to the poor choices in your life? Of course, many of you have legitimate problems that need life saving drugs, but on the one hand, is there any other thing you are doing to save your health? Are you not taking care of your body, the one and only vessel you have to travel this Earth with? Here are some real questions that you should consider. Are you still eating the worst food possible, even though you feel yucky and jittery after doing so, claiming you deserve the break? Or how about sitting in front of he TV for hours on end, doing nothing with the hours of your day rather than kill random people on your video game consoles? I have to ask you these questions because I have always felt this way about fitness and health. If you are not doing everything you can to help yourself, you are in for a rude awakening when you think drugs and the government will save you. There is always going to be some kind of health problem for people where they have just been dealt with a bad hand, but that doesn’t mean this applies to everyone. I was in bad shape, with constant soreness and blood sugar level that was like a group of rolling hills. I complained about my poor health but never really did anything about it. If anything, I might have saved myself a lot of issues down the line by starting this long and arduous road of good health….which is going to take the rest of my life to really master.
I’ll admit, I am being kind of a jerk today, but what do you expect. People are getting angry about the price hikes here in America while the drugs are relatively inexpensive in other countries (and in the case of Arizona, many will go down to Mexico to get their needs). Why is this? Why do we put up with this? It’s because people don’t care about their health. We have been inundated with farcical bullshit like “YOLO” and “moderation” and tricked into believing losing weight is easy. Gaining your health ain’t easy my friends, and the fickle and often times focus lacking culture of America is perfect for such a wretched industry as Big Pharma. And just think for a second…if pharmaceutical companies are going to raise the price on something that will benefit children while also saying children need it, what do you think will happen for other drugs that have supposed life saving qualities? As more and more people get struck down with type 2 diabetes, I’m sure some young and intrepid CEO will gladly fall on the sword and start hiking up prices to benefit the company they are heading in the long run, for if you demonize the individual rather than the company, people will quickly forget. I have a feeling that might be the way it goes down the line. Either way, it just makes you wonder about all of the diseases that can thrive in a poorly maintained body. Think of the dozens of pills that are in the market for type 2 diabetes management. There are 74 drugs out there from what I can tell. Eventually, these things will probably go up in price. Some might talk about the tenants of supply and demand, but life saving drugs are not akin to oil or the number of Xboxes on the shelves. Insulin is already on the rise in regards to cost, what makes one thing other drugs will remain the same? Pharmaceutical companies need people to be unhealthy, and the more we stay unhealthy the easier it will be to justify the cost hikes. EpiPens are mostly a safety net while Daraprim affects a very small portion of the population, so people will obviously forget about this stuff. But it makes you wonder what will happen when the more “mainstream” illnesses will start seeing these price hikes.
I hate to be confrontational about this sort of stuff, but I have been very numb to the idea that people are offended by the price hikes. I know, there may be a chance I will develop diabetes anyway or maybe some day my cholesterol will be out of whack. I might have inherited the undersized “widowmaker” vein from my mother’s side of the family, or maybe my allergies will get to the point where I will be forced to actually take drugs to combat the tension in my sinus cavity and the gunk that tends to build up in my ear cavities. Any of these things could happen to me down the line. But if they do, I will know that I have done everything in my power to actually battle these particular afflictions. Jon and I have been sharing all sort of inspirational videos over the past few weeks, and while they can be a little intimidating to me in regards to the trajectory of my life, I have take them to heart in regards to my health. I am fighting for the ability to live a better life. If I am unlucky enough to get type 2 diabetes regardless, I will know I did everything in my power to avoid it. I might be a little pissed, but then again, I will probably still have a fairly normal life. I think an attitude problem has come upon a great many people in this country. “I’m probably gonna get such and such anyway, so I might as well enjoy what I want to enjoy!” Sounds like a pretty dumb way to live if you ask me. I don’t want my body to be busted up and weak because I didn’t take care of it in the first place. I want to be able to do something close to what I did a couple days ago….spend an entire day working outside and climbing ladders and walking uneven ground with only a couple cactus needles and some sore quads to show for it. And then wake up hours later to do an gym session where the humidity was somewhere north of 50%. I want be able to keep doing these things so I will be able to maintain a version of this as I get older.
Now I am the worst person to take any advice from. I am defeatist, my heart is easy to win over and I can be self deprecating. And sometimes obsessive. And I will occasionally fall down and eat some feelings (with vegan food of course) Wow, I still have some work to do. But that is in my personal life, for I often consider my gym life to be something different. Right now, the idea of transferring the feelings from gym life to regular life is still a work in progress, at least I am trying to fix the inherent problems. Eventually, I won’t be a ball of knots in the real world. Personally, my future is still up in the air, for I just have to keep taking things one week at a time. I am kind of happy my foot is feeling better, but I don’t know if it will be ready for running next week (which will be okay if it is not). Truth be told, at this point in time I could easily give it up or not try so hard, but I really don’t want to do that. I mean, I have reached some pretty good goals that a lot of people would settle on. But let me ask you, why should I stop? It’s not just a personal thing, where I think I can go gang busters at the CrossFit Games or try to be a world class triathlete in the Masters division (which I will soon be a part of, haha!). Like I keep saying, I need to be this way, because this is one of the few things I can readily alter in regards to my future.
I am not perfect in any way, but I do smell a rat when my nose twinges. Personally, this is not the conspiracy theorist of my heavy years coming out, spouting off about the Illuminati or the fact sasquatch is an extraterrestrial being observing our society. Drugs will only get more expensive, and that’s because there is more than enough people who will desperately need these drugs and will have no choice but to empty out their savings account to save themselves. So would you rather have your life in your own hands, or would you let scrupulous opportunists like Mylan CEO Heather Bresch and Shkreli dictate the forum with business practices they were hired to utilize (you know, make money for their investors). Like I keep saying time and time again, your health is something you have a lot of power over. You can’t blame it on genetics and circumstance when you are stuffing bacon cheeseburgers and soda down your gullet every other day. There are smart and soulless people who know most individuals will put off the long battle of taking care of their health, and these people will gladly line their pockets in spite of your suffering and struggles. There is no morality in the high stakes game of health, which is why you need to prepare. Think of your health and fitness like practicing for a football game. If you don’t practice your plays, the other team will just devour you until you lose and you are then forced to go expensive avenues like “building sports infrastructure,” “hiring big name coaches” and “extreme compromise.” Look at it this way, would you rather have the pharmaceutical companies begging you to buy their product or would you rather be on your knees, begging them because you just didn’t feel like watching what you ate or going for long walks every day? Make that choice today and do what you can to make your life happier and healthier.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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