Epi-Pen distribution in Malaysia discontinued — Evelyn Chua
MARCH 23 — Dear Merck,
I am a 34-year-old female who met death three 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 sale 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. — therighttobealive.blogspot.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.