A federal ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to conform with the Clean Air Act, is, ironically, affecting 22.9 million people in the U.S. who suffer from asthma. Generic inhaled albuterol, which is the most commonly prescribed short-acting asthma medication and requires CFCs to propel it into the lungs, will no longer be legally sold after December 31, 2008. Physicians and patients are questioning the wisdom of the ban, which will have an insignificant effect on ozone but a measurable impact on wallets: the reformulated brand-name alternatives can be three times as expensive, raising the cost to about $40 per inhaler. The issue is even more disconcerting considering that asthma disproportionately affects the poor and that, according to recent surveys, an estimated 20 percent of asthma patients are uninsured.
I’m not sure where they get their information about the cost of albuterol… at least compared to my experience of spending 30 bucks an inhaler without insurance. I’d also bet that 30 bucks that more than 20% of asthma patients are uninsured. I’d also bet a greater number of people have asthma and don’t know it.