Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paying to Breathe. EPA Regs on Asthma Inhalers Drove Up Their Costs.

Nick Baumann at Mother Jones reports on an EPA regulation that was a huge boon to the pharmaceutical industry and will cost billions in unnecessary medical expenses:
 In 2009, at the urging of the drug lobby, the EPA started banning asthma inhalers that run on ozone-depleting CFC aerosols. As a result, inhaler prices jumped from as little as $5 to as much as $60. The drug companies were thrilled—they got a new round of patent protection (and got to charge higher prices) for non-CFC inhalers that dispense exactly the same medicine as their CFC-based predecessors. But everyone else got screwed. By 2017, the switch to the new inhalers will cost consumers, taxpayers, and the government some $8 billion, according to the EPA's own estimates, just to avoid a tiny amount of CFC emissions.
Baumann explains that killing the regulation may take renegotiation of the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting CFC, and presumably a tussle with lobbyists for Big Pharma.

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