Back-to-School, With an EpiPen or Without

Mireille Schwartz and daughter with epipen

Author Mireille Schwartz and her daughter consider the EpiPen

The following is a guest post from Mireille Schwartz, author of the forthcoming When Your Child Has Food Allergies: A Parent’s Guide to Managing it All–From the Everyday to the Extreme (AMACOM April 2017), on this year’s back-to-school pharmacy visit and its collision with the recent EpiPen price controversy.

Two weeks ago, as part of my family’s back-to-school ritual, my daughter and I made an annual trip to our local pharmacy in order to refill her epinephrine auto-injector two-pack prescription. When your child has food allergies, there are certain times each calendar year that are pivotal touchpoints for safety: the birthday party, Halloween, winter holidays, and back-to-school. Families with food allergies survive and thrive with plenty of planning, and with strategies firmly in place to handle and manage the inevitable allergen exposures along the way. The epinephrine auto-injector is a huge part of this strategy.

Once a severe allergic reaction starts, epinephrine is usually the first line of defense to treat the situation. It’s a synthetic adrenaline that can reverse the severe symptoms of an allergic reaction in – literally – seconds. The medication is loaded up into an auto-injectable device, commonly referred to as the ‘EpiPen’ after the best-known brand, and one shot can stop an allergic reaction in its tracks. It’s considered the first and best solution in combating food allergies once they have been triggered. The epinephrine raises dangerously low blood pressure by tightening the blood vessels. The lung muscles relax, breathing eases, and swelling reduces in the throat and face. Then the heart rate increases as blood pressure rises, delivering the epinephrine faster to the whole body.

Unlike antihistamine tablets and syrups like Benadryl – also useful, but not as fast-acting – epinephrine is available by a prescription only, and the shelf-life of the medication is slightly more than 12 months, meaning that refills are needed annually. The back-to-school season is a natural time to re-up: school is the ultimate zone for those inevitable allergen exposures.

The end-of-summer trip to the pharmacy is typically pretty boring, with some waiting around, then the polite small talk with our pharmacist followed by the handoff. This time, however, while we waited, we could see a buzz building behind the counter. Our pharmacist scowled at his computer screen, clicking a button over and over on his keyboard. Our eyes met, he quickly looked away, and he summoned over the head pharmacist. Together they began a quiet and heated discussion with the monitor’s glow on their frowning faces. Next, a third pharmacist walked up and tried her hand at the computer keyboard, while the three conferred in hushed tones.

My daughter and I are dependent on these EpiPens. As inconceivable as it was for me to consider, I had to ask: “Is there a problem with our prescription?” The head pharmacist was apologetic as he told me and my daughter, “I’m sorry, but even with your EpiPen coupon, the charge for your daughter’s medication today is $700.” He was clearly uncomfortable and caught off guard. I asked all of the questions a parent asks: was this for ALL the refills available for the entire year? Was this an error of some kind? The pharmacist couldn’t explain it, and he was as astounded as I was.

For Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the EpiPen, back-to-school is the ultimate time to gouge the customer—a customer desperate and dependent on the product. This price hike also happened directly following the removal of the other leading epinephrine auto-injector, Sanofi’s Auvi-Q that “talked you through” its use, from the market. A generic alternative has not yet arrived for consumers. And so it looks like Mylan, the EpiPen manufacturer, has done the cold and calculated unthinkable to us.

This week I’ve heard countless stories from families dejected to hear the same bad news at their own pharmacies all across the country. In some towns the EpiPen price surpassed $1,000. Families were frightened, many left without their child’s medications. No lifesaving medication for the school year.

Earlier this week, I met with my daughter’s school and handed them her brand new EpiPen two-pack. I also swapped out the soon-to-expire EpiPen two-pack in her personal emergency bag, carried daily in her backpack.

How many other families this week did not?

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Food allergy expert & author MIREILLE SCHWARTZ imparts wisdom gathered during her lifetime with food allergies in her upcoming book, When Your Child Has Food Allergies (AMACOM April 2017). She’ll share the stories behind the stories, and with them the health, safety, efficacy, common sense, and fragilities that make us who we are. “Food is everywhere, and our relationship to food needs to be healthy if we are to stay healthy,” Schwartz says. The author lives with her family in San Francisco.


THE GIG ECONOMY Now Available on NetGalley

Cover art for The Gig EconomySo many things in life are what you make of them–including the gig economy. Plenty of internet clickbait articles warn of the downsides of this new era in work norms, but few offer a game plan to embrace it and create your most rewarding career within it. Now that guide does exist. In THE GIG ECONOMY: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want (AMACOM November 2016), author Diane Mulcahy provides the tools to prepare for, succeed in, and enjoy this career form. Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in career, labor, and the gig economy are invited to request The Gig Economy for review.

From Uber to the presidential debates, the gig economy has been dominating the headlines…and for good reason. Today, more than a third of Americans are working in the gig economy—mixing together short-term jobs, contract work, and freelance assignments. For those who’ve figured out the formula, life has never been better!

The Gig Economy is your guide to this uncertain but ultimately rewarding world. Succeeding in it starts with shifting gears to recognize that only you control your future. Next is leveraging your skills, knowledge, and network to create your own career trajectory—one immune to the whims of an employer.

Packed with research, exercises, and anecdotes, this eye-opening book supplies strategies—ranging from the professional to the personal—to help you:

Construct a life based on your priorities and vision of success • Cultivate connections without networking • Create your own security • Take more time off • Build flexibility into your financial life • Face your fears by reducing risk • Prepare for the future • And much more

Layoffs… recessions…Corporate jobs are not only unstable— they’re increasingly scarce. It’s time to take charge of your own career and lead the life you actually want.

DIANE MULCAHY is a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College, where she teaches “Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy,” a popular MBA course that named one of the top ten most innovative business school classes in the country. Her work in venture capital and entrepreneurship has been featured on NPR and in the Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Economist, and other national media.

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NetGalley is a service for people who read and recommend books, such as book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

There are a number of different reading options for this e-galley:

Find all of AMACOM’s e-galleys on NetGalley.

You can review how to get AMACOM’s digital galley request approval on NetGalley HERE.




Podcast: William F. Baker on Art as a Business

Jacket cover of World's Your Stage William F. Baker recently sat down with the AMA Edgewise team to discuss his book, The World’s Your Stage: How Performing Artists Can Make a Living While Still Doing What They Love, and how artists can fuse their true talent with business savvy to achieve success.

“My students at Juilliard are perhaps the best in the world,” Baker explains on the podcast. “They’re coming out of school having practiced, say, an instrument five hours a day since age three, they’ve gone to the hardest school in America to get into, and they come out and there’s an expectation that somebody’s going to be throwing rose petals at you and an agent taps you on the shoulder and says ‘I’ve got a $200,000 job for you at the Berlin Philharmonic.’ Now, that person is certainly qualified to go to the Berlin Philharmonic, but likely there’s no job.” What are the options for these graduates? They probably need this podcast and The World’s Your Stage.

Artists usually chose their profession for the love of the craft but if they don’t have some business skills they’re going to get left behind. William F Baker, co-author of The World’s Your Stage, published by AMACOM, has tips on how to brand yourself, how to assess your competition, and act like an entrepreneur.

Listen to William F. Baker on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.


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Click through to see William F. Baker’s AMA Talks videos!

WILLIAM F. BAKER is president emeritus of WNET, New York’s PBS station, and a professor at Fordham University. He teaches Understanding the Profession: The Business of the Performing Arts in the 21st Century to students from Juilliard and Fordham, and, in addition to The World’s Your Stage, is the author of Leading with Kindness: How Good People Consistently Get Superior Results (AMACOM August 2008).

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

What Do Editors Want? The Five Things to Include in Your Business Book Proposal

Our editors see business book proposals every day–some great, some bad, some…interesting. Senior Editor Stephen S. Power would rather see the great, so he’ll be writing a blog series to help business book authors make it so. Here’s his inaugural post on what editors want.

Editors have the best job in the world: We’re encouraged to buy as many books as we can with other people’s money, and we get to read them first. So when we receive a new proposal, our consideration switch is already set to “accept,” and there’s nothing more awful than feeling the switch flip to “reject.” Here, then, are the five things to include in your business book or proposal to prevent that from happening.

  1. New research. Why are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Good to Great, Capitalism in the 21st Century, The Power of Habit, and Thinking, Fast and Slow bestselling classics? All are based on bold new research applied to the concerns of everyday life and written in layman’s terms by the people, in most cases, who conducted it. Indicate the new studies and objective findings that support your points, and don’t rely only on anecdotal evidence about anonymized people you’ve worked with.
  1. A quantifiable following. When publishers ask about an author’s platform, what they mean is, How large is your following? It’s not how many Twitter followers you have, for instance, that’s important; it’s how many who are engaging with your tweets. Publishers want to know how many people are waiting to read a book by you—and how many of those want to read one on the topic you’re writing about. By quantifying your following, you will size your immediate market and make your proposal more attractive.
  1. A defined market. Who will buy your book: leaders? Managers? HR professionals? Entrepreneurs? A book that’s for everyone is for no one at all. It would also be tough to package because books for C-suiters, for example, tend to be hardcovers while books for managers tend to be paperbacks. Worse, it would be tough to slot the book in stores because it wouldn’t sit easily on any shelf. Even if your book has crossover appeal to several markets, it should be written for one specifically. Go to a bookstore and determine what shelf in the business section your book would sit on best, given the topic, and then aim your book at that shelf.
  1. A defined problem. The nice thing about doing business books, unlike, say, fiction, is that they are generally prescriptive. Someone has a problem, recognizes the problem, and (we hope) looks for a book that will solve their problem. The recognition of the problem is key. Lots of authors want to write books with information people should know, but no one likes castor oil: people buy books on what they must know. So: concisely define the problem your book solves (and for whom), offer data that demonstrate how wide-ranging and important the problem is, and provide an easy, step-by-step solution.
  1. Authority. Stores want business books by authors who’ve been in business or who have academic business credentials, so your professional credentials must support the book you want to write.

As much as they want books, editors need the right books by the right people at the right time. These five elements will show that your book fits the bill.

Stephen S Power author pic


STEPHEN S. POWER is a senior editor at AMACOM and author of The Dragon Round (Simon & Schuster July 2016). See his recent posts for the AMACOM blog here.


AMACOM Titles on Sale for Kindle’s Off to College Promotion

We’re happy to share AMACOM titles selected for Amazon Kindle’s Off to College promotion this season. Whether you’re going back to school or getting into the fall spirit of learning, these titles will teach you brilliant new lessons on business, health, and science.

From Thursday, August 18th through Sunday, August 28th, these titles will be on sale (links lead to Amazon Kindle):

And from Monday, August 29th through Sunday, September 11th, we will have one title on sale:

Take advantage of this opportunity, and enjoy!

kindle off to college 2016 - business books

kindle off to college 2016 - health bookskindle off to college 2016 - science