Saturday, January 28, 2006

Humans are part of the environment, too!

This is just plain wrong.
Asthma sufferers may not be able to buy nonprescription inhalers much longer because the devices contain propellants that harm the ozone layer.

An advisory panel voted 11-7 Tuesday to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration remove the "essential use" status that Primatene Mist and other similar nonprescription inhalers require to be sold, spokeswoman Laura Alvey said.

Final revocation of that status would mean a de facto ban on their sale.
First, much of the current research into the ozone layer is built on computer models. And, as anyone who understands computer modeling knows, a small change in the model can totally change the outcome of the simulation, which basically means that the research is - what's the word the French use? - MERDE!

How many people (for environmentalists, those are the bipedal animals) could be affected?
3 million Americans use Primatene Mist for mild or intermittent cases of asthma
That's MILD or INTERMITTENT - meaning, for the stupid (or those on the FDA advisory panel), that they aren't pumping the inhalers into them, 24/7, but using them as an inexpensive back-up for OCCASIONAL problems. Which, for someone who only has to resort to them a few times a year, means less destruction to the environment than a daily commute in your oversized vehicle. Which, by the way, is still legal.

Look, the inhalers' propellants primarily go into the user's respiratory system. When you use an inhaler, you inhale as you depress the pump. Then you hold the stuff in your lungs as long as you can stand it. By the time you finally exhale, I doubt that much CFC will be dispelled.

My daughter uses an OTC as a backup. She only needs to use it a few times a year, but it saves a trip to the emergency room. I've not used OTCs, as I've had access to an excellent drug plan since my diagnosis. But many asthmatics do use the OTCs, with few problems.

I'm not saying that the issue shouldn't be looked at, but until there is a viable, inexpensive alternative, don't ban the OTC asthma inhalers. With the incidence of asthma increasing, it just doesn't make sense.

Anyone want to fight this decision might also want to remind the FDA that a ban would disproportionately hurt blacks, since they have higher rates of asthma, and are less likely to have health insurance. Can we say RACIST?

I sent the FDA the following on their website:
I read of an FDA advisory committee's action to recommend removing the essential use status on OTC asthma inhalers. I strongly protest any such action. Many asthma sufferers use these OTCs, and they are a reasonable and inexpensive alternative and backup to prescription inhalers.

As blacks are disproportionately affected by asthma, they would also be more affected by what is a de facto ban. This would contribute to increased emergency room costs and days lost due to asthma attacks.

I urge your agency to rule against the advisory panel, and keep the OTC inhalers available.

Tags = Health and Wellness

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