House to Defy Ozone Treaty, Allow Sale of Asthma Inhalers

photo credit: net_efektThe [U.S.]House is looking to pass legislation this week that would legalize the sale of 1 million asthma inhalers, which were banned from drugstore shelves this year in order to comply with an international air quality treaty.

Republicans are expected to call up H.R. 6190, the Asthma Inhalers Relief Act, on Tuesday. The bill would allow the sale of about 1 million remaining Primatene Mist inhalers, despite a ban on the sale of this product since the end of 2011.

Primatene Mist had been used by asthma sufferers for decades, but it was banned under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and also the Clean Air Act. Supporters of the ban have said Primatene Mist contains chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer, as well as a drug, epinephrine, that is now seen by some doctors as less effective against asthma.

But supporters of the product say people still rely on Primatene Mist for asthma attacks, and that the ban takes away the only effective over-the-counter product for people with asthma.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill by voice vote in August and said passage would allow the remaining 1 million inhalers to be sold.

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