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EPA Bans CFC-Based Asthma Inhalers 394

Posted by timothy
from the next-they-come-for-the-glasses-tape dept.
bonch writes "The EPA has banned over-the-counter asthma inhalers as part of an agreement with other nations to avoid using chlorofluorocarbons, a substance once used in aerosol sprays. Alternative albuterol inhalers cost almost three times as much as the $20 epinephrine inhalers sold by online retailers."
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EPA Bans CFC-Based Asthma Inhalers

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  • government idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by p51d007 (656414) on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:54PM (#37497364)
    Government, EPA...what a bunch of idiots. Here we have an inexpensive asthma product, that helps MILLIONS of people each day, and now thanks to the government, it will costs those people MORE for a different product. One of the scariest things ever said was... "I'm from the federal government, and I'm here to HELP you".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:57PM (#37497392)

    Corporations, what a bunch of idiots. Here we have an ozone depleting product, that will affect BILLIONS of people each day, and now thanks to the government, it will save those people MORE by keeping intact the ozone layer. Once of the scariest things ever said was... "I'm from the corporation, and I'm here to SAVE the planet".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:58PM (#37497412)

    That's utter bullshit. The amount of compressed gas in asthma inhalers is minuscule. Even when you multiply that by thousands, the amount would be extremely modest. Besides, negative health outcomes by people who don't have inhalers they need (because they can't afford the 'green' ones) would far, far exceed any damage to the ozone layer.

    God damn hippies.

  • by nbetcher (973062) <nbetcher@NospAM.gmail.com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:10PM (#37497536)
    I recommend not going to Walgreens or CVS - go to an independent pharmacy, you'll get better care there anyways and cheaper prices. Then, don't get Proventil or Proair, get Ventolin! Ventolin is the cheapest and Glaskosmith-Kline has $15 rebate checks they give to pharmacies sometimes (and no, I don't work for ANY Pharmas). You also may want to check their website because they have programs you can enroll in to get your meds for cheap/free, plus they may even have some coupons you can use there.
  • by lgw (121541) on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:11PM (#37497552) Journal

    The amount of "crap in the the atmosphere" from all inhalers ever made, combined, is trivial. These are the only OTC rescue inhalers on the market. People will die from this bullshit.

  • Re:only if (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:41PM (#37497866)

    -1, Irrelevant

    No one is surprised that other CFC devices are banned. We're talking about devices that save people's lives, not hair spray.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:45PM (#37497916)

    Corporations, what a bunch of idiots. Here we have an ozone depleting product, that will affect BILLIONS of people each day, and now thanks to the government, it will save those people MORE by keeping intact the ozone layer. Once of the scariest things ever said was... "I'm from the corporation, and I'm here to SAVE the planet".

    Yeah, fuck those asthma sufferers. Even though there are more pollutants pumped into the atmosphere from running your car for less than a second, those people deserve to have the medicine they depend on to breath cost more. If their combined medicinal use affects the lungs of even an ANT in a million years, I want them strung up and caned.

    Now watch me light up this joint.

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:13PM (#37498230)

    Banning remaining CFC sources will accelerate the healing of ozone layer. And it's not like there are no good replacements available.

    Do you have asthma? I do, and I find that the non-CFC HFA inhalers don't work for me. I have resorted to (illegally) ordering CFC inhalers from India and/or using a portable nebulizer, which is both less effective and less portable than the inhalers with propellants.

    The problem with the HFA inhalers is that they don't propel the medicine strongly enough and the propellant itself may even be an irritant to some people. I have had times where it has at least seemed to make my asthma worse, not better.

    OTOH, I'm not a big fan of primatene mist either. It is dangerous and actually causes pain in my chest. Although in an emergency it is often the only option available other than the ER for someone with asthma.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:21PM (#37498686) Homepage Journal

    Primatene sucks, and barely works. It's cheap because its costs have been paid off for decades, and it's just a brand. But millions of people don't use it, even though it's cheap, because it sucks. The EPA isn't just protecting the health of the rest of us by protecting the Ozone Layer from CFCs - it's flushing this crap product out of the market. The asthma industry has had decades to switch away from CFCs, longer than practically all others. And even this final shutdown has been coming for 3 years, plenty of time to switch.

    If you want to be angry at a government agency, be angry at the FDA which requires the non-CFC version, that actually works, to be a prescription. Which drives up its costs, and lets the doctor industry take their cut for peddling it. There's no reason the non-CFC version should cost 50-100% more than the OTC version. It's the doctor/drug cartel that keeps this stuff so profitable and expensive.

    What's idiotic is the kneejerk attacks on government agencies that protect us, without knowing anything about what you're talking about. "The government" isn't some monolithic entity. The EPA controls damaging substances to protect us

  • by Guppy (12314) on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:30PM (#37498734)

    Quantitative proof or GTFO.

    Well, I'll take a shot at it. Please excuse me if I miss a decimal point somewhere, corrections are welcome.

    About 14g of material in a Primatene Mist Inhaler. Non-propellant mass is ascorbic acid, dehydrated alcohol (34%), hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, purified water (actual mass of drug is negligible). Don't know the breakdown, but guesstimating about 4g of CFC-12 and CFC-114 propellant per inhaler, since alcohol is ~1/3 mass, and ascorbic acid is listed before the alcohol (ingredients should be listed in order of descending weight, so at least 1/3 ascorbic acid).

    In one of the recent news interviews about this, FDA spokesman estimated 1-2 million [time.com] Primatene Mist users out there. Let's say 12 vials per year * 2mil users (I don't really know how many vials an asthmatic goes through), and call it 20 million vials. That would be 24,000kg of CFCs per year, or 24 metric tons.

    For reference, reported peak production of CFC-12 was reached in 1988, at 421,002 metric tons [afeas.org] (1000kg in a metric ton), and 8,938 metric tons in 2004 (last reported year). So total usage is not tiny, but still a small fraction of the overall CFC usage.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:53PM (#37498840) Homepage Journal

    For reference, reported peak production of CFC-12 was reached in 1988, at 421,002 metric tons [afeas.org] (1000kg in a metric ton), and 8,938 metric tons in 2004 (last reported year). So total usage is not tiny, but still a small fraction of the overall CFC usage.

    Are you familiar with the term, "boundary condition"?

    Asthma inhalers are only one example of a much larger class of products that contain these ozone-destroying propellants. Is CFC-12 the only ingredient that can be used effectively for inhalers? Do inhalers have to use ANY propellant? Or do they include the propellant so that they can minimize the amount of the active ingredient so that the consumer needs to buy lots and lots of inhalers?

    Do you remember how many different ways the EPA attacked the pollution in the Great Lakes a few decades ago? They approached it from hundreds of different directions, and for each one you could have said, "Why are they going after this one itty-bitty thing?".

    But here we are in 2011, and the Great Lakes are no longer the open-air toilet that they were in the 1970s. You can catch beautiful salmon and lake trout off the coast of Gary, Indiana for chrissake. Cleveland doesn't smell like a decaying corpse any more.

    The same arguments were made in the 1980s and 1990s about the EPA. Yesterday, one of the geniuses in the Republican debate, some guy who make his money selling cardboard pizzas, said, "The first thing I'd do after being elected is close down the EPA".

    So it's finally happened. The Tea Party has driven the GOP so far over the cliff that they're coming out in favor of...pollution, people dying from lack of health care and executing innocent people. I hear they're planning a big campaign in favor of mercury in baby food and lead paint in pre-schools. They boo a question from a soldier serving in Iraq because he's gay. They consider police, firemen, schoolteachers and paramedics "bottom-feeders", "parasites" and "scum". Think about that for just a second. For them, domestic enemy number one is police, firemen, schoolteachers and paramedics. They have a plan for recruiting better teachers for our schools. And do you know what that plan is? They plan to recruit better teachers by taking away their collective bargaining rights, paying them less, reducing their benefits and making class sizes bigger. I'm not joking. That's what the most "moderate" of the GOP candidates said last night. Mitt Romney's plan to recruit higher-quality teachers is to make it a lot more unpleasant and less lucrative to be a schoolteacher. Guy's a friggin' genius. The number one thing the GOP likes about him is that he's a "job creator" except during his tenure at Bain & Company he laid off a lot more people than he hired and as governor of Massachusetts they were number 46 out of 50 in new jobs. And that other whiz kid, the down's syndrome-looking one from Texas (no, not Ron Paul, the other goof) who brags about his "Texas Miracle" which apparently was he somehow turned all the decent middle-class jobs into minimum wage jobs, and he did so by spending $25billion in federal tax money from the Obama stimulus.

    I'm sorry I got off on this rant. So back to my original point, fuck you and your Primatene Mist. Did you ever think that maybe if the air quality in the urban US wasn't so polluted that maybe we wouldn't have the current epidemic of asthma among children in the inner city? The EPA has been under attack by knuckleheads like you for a couple of decades now. They need to be made a lot stronger and more effective, not have their budget slashed every time the Republicans take over one or more branch of government.

    I'm sorry for ranting, but my fuck you still stands.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @09:59PM (#37498864) Journal

    Yes but there is one little thing everyone seems to be missing...this will KILL PEOPLE DEAD and that is NOT any 'guessing" or "estimates" or anything else but a cold hard fact. We already have too damned many old folks in this country and poor folks that have to choose between having medicine and food, you think TRIPLING the cost is just hunky dory?

    Either the government should be force to eat the difference or they should STFU, simple as that. this isn't some theoretical thing here, a severe asthma attack can KILL YOU and many will now not be able to afford their meds. of course considering the whole "cheering the poor dying" we had at the republican debates not too long ago frankly anything that helps waste poor folks would probably be seen as a win by certain political movements.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Friday September 23, 2011 @10:10PM (#37498916) Homepage Journal

    Do inhalers have to use ANY propellant? Or do they include the propellant so that they can minimize the amount of the active ingredient so that the consumer needs to buy lots and lots of inhalers?

    No you asshole. They use propellant because when you're having a fucking asthma attack, you can't generate enough negative pressure with your lungs to properly atomize the medicine!

    LK

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday September 23, 2011 @10:31PM (#37498988)
    Actually, engineers resolved the notion of the user powered pump quite some time ago. It's really cool, you just squeeze or depress the mechanism and out comes the product. For the lazy though they've come up with the ingenious notion of replacing the aerosol with carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide when used in human consumables. Either way there are alternatives to CFCs and most cost no different or even less than CFC propellant. The problem isn't the propellant it's the drug manufacturers that feel like charging more.

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