FDA's CFC Asthma Inhaler Ban Becomes a "Light Bulb" Issue for Conservatives

Last Updated Sep 23, 2011 1:30 PM EDT


The FDA's ban of the Primatene Mist asthma inhaler -- because it uses ozone-destroying CFCs -- already shows signs of becoming an "incandescent light-bulb issue" for conservatives. They hate the ban because it puts the needs of the environment before the needs of the people: Primatene is the only non-prescription asthma inhaler, and prescription alternatives are all more expensive. As the Lonely Conservative put it:
Well, thanks to the nature nazis and their cohorts in our government, the only over the counter inhaler will be taken off the market.
The ban also arrives with bad timing for President Obama. At the same time as 3 million asthma sufferers are having their inhalers snatched at gunpoint by the FDA's jack-booted stormtroopers phased out from store-shelves by Dec. 31, Obama said he will not raise federal anti-ozone air pollution standards, after he was lobbied by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It's one law for big business, and another for the little guy, apparently.

Let the hoarding begin

There is already talk on conservative blogs of hoarding Primatene in the same way some people hoard incandescent light bulbs, Sudafed and buy high-flush toilets from Canada. Prices on the eBay gray market have yet to spike at the time of writing, however.

The conservative blogosphere is angry:

As an asmatic that uses Albuterol inhalers I'm glad I can look forward to greater cost and less medical effectiveness so environmentalists can celebrate the 0.00000000000000000001% effect on the ozone layer. Thanks again government.

But the welfare of the poor has never been of particular concern to those in the environmental movement, which mainly consists of elitist white people. Nor has it been a driving concern of the AMA, which drives up the cost of medical care putting it out of reach of many poor people.

So it seems when faced with the issue of public health versus environmental hype, it's public health that gets the short end of the stick.

What the right isn't mentioning is that the ban was actually proposed in 1997; it's only now arrived at the end of the FDA's rule-making process. The drug industry has had 14 years to figure out how to spray epinephrine into asthmatics' mouths without destroying the atmosphere. The company that makes Primatene, Armstrong Pharmaceutical, is working on a non-CFC version. It just hasn't gotten its approvals yet.

Meanwhile, the godless socialists at the FDA have a ton of information on alternatives and equivalents, going so far as to give this somewhat casual medical advice:

Current epinephrine inhaler users that don't have a health care professional to write them a new prescription can ask a family member or friend what doctor they use and would recommend.
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