Hurry Up and Die, Asthma Sufferers -- You're Wrecking the Environment!
As of December 31 of this year, people with asthma who use inhalers will no longer be able to buy over-the-counter versions. During the Bush administration, the FDA banned them, because they contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that affect the ozone layer. Or at least that was the excuse.
Now the only option is to get a prescription from a health-care professional for a more environmentally friendly -- and more expensive -- version that uses hydrofluoroalkane (HFA).
Costlier inhalers mean millions of people will be priced out of the market, with serious consequences for their health. [emphasis added]
Such choices to forgo medication could affect more than just the patients themselves. “For example,” Hendeles points out, “in a pregnant mother with untreated asthma, less oxygen is delivered to the fetus, which can lead to congenital problems and premature birth.” And considering that the disease disproportionately strikes the poor, what seemed to be a good, responsible environmental decision might in the end exact an unexpected human toll.
So it's okay to drive a 6 mpg, 2-ton SUV to the doctor and pharmacy because strengthening other ozone-related clean air standards wouldn't "promote economic growth" -- at least not in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.