As a lifelong sufferer of asthma, I have always depended on inhalers to provide me with fast-acting, lifesaving medicine. Fortunately, I am able to afford expensive prescription inhalers, but many Americans hit hard by the faltering economy are not so lucky.
Until now, however, there has been a cheaper option for low-income families—over-the-counter, epinephrine-based inhalers have helped an estimated 1-2 million people treat their asthma for about $20 per unit (the prescription brands can cost up to 3 times that amount).
But now thanks to our out-of-control federal government, low-income Americans will be denied this over-the-counter relief as of December 31.
The focus of the government’s ire is the fluorocarbons used in the systems of these inhalers. As MSNBC reported: “The action is part of an agreement signed by the U.S. and other nations to stop using substances that deplete the ozone layer.”
Fine, all well and good that the government wants to protect the ozone layer, but that will come as grim comfort to those whose breath literally depends on cheap inhalers, but whose bank accounts do not allow for the prescription alternative. Not that the well-off bureaucrats at the EPA would know, but to a poor family, $60 per month is a lot of money—a week’s groceries, a full tank of gas, a new pair of shoes.
The sad irony in all of this is that the American Lung Association (ALA) has vocally backed the EPA’s war on carbon, under the guise that less industrial “polluters” like coal plants will mean less lung diseases—like asthma. It’s all a perfect example of well meaning but destructive do-gooderism to target asthma inhalers as a threat to lung health.
It’s almost enough to take your breath away.