As an asthma sufferer, I am aware of the high cost of prescription medications. For many decades Primatene Mist has been available as an over-the-counter alternative. This will come to an end on December 31, 2011.
The packaging notice from Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, Inc. states, ” Primatene Mist (CFC) will not be available after December 31, 2011.” Stores across the United States have already sold out of the inhalers and are not restocking them prior to the year-end deadline. Primatene Tablets will continue to be sold.
The timing couldn’t be worse for millions of uninsured Americans who suffer from asthma and for those who are insured, but for both cost and convenience prefer to purchase the over-the-counter inhaler.
Reports from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) indicate there are approximately 34.1 million Americans diagnosed with asthma during their lifetime. The number of asthmatics is on the rise as the U.S. population ages. In addition, they estimate prescription drugs cost asthma suffers over 6 billion dollars a year.
Primatene Mist Contains CFCs
The medication is being discontinued because it relies on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant. CFCs were once widely used as a propellant in a variety of products such as aerosol hairspray and refrigerants. Because CFCs contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, they are banned in most products.
As a result of the Montreal Protocol of 1987, the United States passed the Clean Air Act to phase out harmful CFCs. Hundreds of countries passed similar legislation.
CFCs being used in many products were phased out decades ago, but many medications were given a phase out period. There are prescription asthma inhalers which are CFC-free, but after the December 31, 2011 deadline, there will be no over-the-counter alternative.
According to correspondence posted on their website, Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Primatene Mist, is working on a CFC-free alternative, but no timeframe was given regarding when it will be available for purchase.
Additional information regarding the discontinuance of Primatene Mist may be found on the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) website .
Replacing Your Asthma Inhaler
Contact your healthcare professional, prior to the deadline, to obtain a prescription for an asthma inhaler that does not contain CFCs.
Uninsured asthmatics can contact their local Health and Human Services Department or free clinic for resources to obtain a prescription, and potential financial assistance, for a prescription inhaler. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does have a website to help locate federally funded agencies in your area. It is also recommended you consult with your pharmacist for resources for potential financial assistance if you are unable to afford a prescription inhaler.
A Word About Online Medications
Primatene Mist can’t legally be sold in the United States after December 31, 2011. As a result, you may be tempted to seek out a resource through an online pharmacy.
Reputable online pharmacies will not make the product available for purchase in the United States. Before ordering an inhaler or any medication from an online source, you need to check out the pharmacy through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The NABP maintains listings for reputable online pharmacies and chemists.