Environment, Medication, and Control

Isn’t it nice when you can pretend to care about the environment while helping the pharmaceutical companies rip people off even more? And place even more restrictions on how people access their medication?

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday patients who use the epinephrine inhalers to treat mild asthma will need to switch by Dec. 31 to other types that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, an aerosol substance once found in a variety of spray products.

The action is part of an agreement signed by the U.S. and other nations to stop using substances that deplete the ozone layer, a region in the atmosphere that helps block harmful ultraviolet rays from the Sun.

But the switch to a greener inhaler will cost consumers more. Epinephrine inhalers are available via online retailers for around $20, whereas the alternatives, which contain the drug albuterol, range from $30 to $60.

Mind you, I have nothing whatsoever against switching to more environment-friendly inhalers. However, I don’t understand why this switch has to remove the possibility of ordering the inhalers online. Why are asthma sufferers suddenly condemned to getting prescriptions for something they never needed a prescription for until now? How is it reasonable to ask people to switch to something that is more expensive in the current economy? For many people, this will be a serious increase in price that they might not be able to afford.

As it is, there are way too many substances that unreasonably require prescriptions. Take contraceptive pills, for example. What sense does it make that one can buy heroin easier and more hassle-free than oral contraceptives?

After this kind of news, it becomes easier to understand why so many people in this country say they are sick and tired of the government’s constant meddling and paternalistic attitudes.

Thank you, Estherlou, for pointing me towards this story.

One thought on “Environment, Medication, and Control”

  1. The German Government did the very same thing ! … In 2002.

    And truth be told, I am glad they did, because I have a lot less problems with salbutamol a.k. albuterol) than with adrenaline a.k epinephrine.

    The price seems ridiculously high though. The online retailer of my choice sells an inhaler for 12€ to 15€, which is roundabout $16 to $20.


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