Possible Shortage of Albuterol Inhalers

Possible Shortage of Albuterol Inhalers

There are 223 comments on the Bellaonline.com story from Feb 10, 2006, titled Possible Shortage of Albuterol Inhalers. In it, Bellaonline.com reports that:

It came to my attention earlier today that there is a shortage of Albuterol MDIs .

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Bellaonline.com.

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i hate this

United States

#1 Feb 28, 2006
i am a 13 year old girl who is very very dependent on the inhalers. i use it almost every day cause i am very athletic, and if i dont have this inhalers i could die and if which i do my parents possibly whole family will sue each and every one of you so you better work HARD on makeing those inhalers cause we would sue a fine of $1million. all i can say is we dont really care about the ozone layer. i dont mind if you were to make both new and old inhalers, since i know that the quvar dosent work for me i am SURE that the stupid new helping the stupid ozone layer and we got a shortage lie wont help. just remeber that sooo many people are depending on these, a lot of people might die cause of you selfish people. i hope my one little voice will change this like most people say... oh and we are sue-ing for how much? thats right $1million!!!
Lawrence Phyffer

Los Angeles, CA

#2 Mar 13, 2006
I want to echo these sentiments about the lack of inhalers available (Albuterol). This is serious for physicallay active Chronic Asthma sufferers, we require more than the inactive or bed-ridden users of the product and cannot perform our daily activities with 1 inhaler a month as proposed by the U.S. Veterans Administration something has to be done


#3 Dec 11, 2006
Its worse than anyone thought-its not a shortage, they have been banned!!!! That's right, by the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA. They banned albuterol inhalers. I guess the best way to save the ozone layer is to kill off asthmatics!!! None of the other meds work for me. And it wasn;t some international treaty, no matter what they try to tell you. Forget Montreal, they exempted necessary meds. It was the UNited States Government that voted 11 to 7 to ban our meds.

New York, NY

#4 Dec 12, 2006
To top it off, along with a shortage the new manufacturers have changed it somehow. I normally go through 1 inhaler a month. This is the 4th on that I have bought in 3 weeks. They dont even last me a week. Not much notice of when they run out either. They better get it together soon!!!!

United States

#5 Dec 15, 2006
Kim wrote:
To top it off, along with a shortage the new manufacturers have changed it somehow. I normally go through 1 inhaler a month. This is the 4th on that I have bought in 3 weeks. They dont even last me a week. Not much notice of when they run out either. They better get it together soon!!!!
I to am very dependant on the albuterol inhalers to keep breathing. Has anyone heard if there is any action to stop this ban? Dont they realise that thousands of people depend on albuterol to live?
Guess they dont care for that as much as they do the ozone layer!!

Brooklyn, NY

#6 Dec 29, 2006
Albuterol is NOT being banned. the propellant, CFC, which has been used to propel the medicine from the inhaler into your lungs, has been banned.
the new albuterol inhalers are the same medicine, with a different propellant. It may taste and/or feel different, but its the same medicine.
suggest you talk to you doctor. there are lots of programs available right now to help patients make the transition.
another asthma sufferer

United States

#7 Dec 29, 2006
I agree this should be a crime to ban this medication. I can't live without it and now I just called the pharmacy and they are SOLD OUT and can not get anymore!!!!!!!!!! So now what? Go to the ER? this is totally insane and WHY has this not been front page in all the news papers across the country?????????? I am so mad. I just found out about this when I called for a refill. And of course a holiday is coming and no meds. The powder stuff does not work for me at all it makes my breathing worse. How can some stupid people vote to ban this medication when so many people need it and depend on it for their lives? They expect people that are having trouble breathing inhale a fine powder when they can't breathe already? Give me a break. Lets all sue the people who passed this law. I find it impossible to believe that a tiny inhaler can cause such a problem for the ozone when there are cans of spray paint/deoderant etc that is used everyday....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrr

Brooklyn, NY

#8 Dec 29, 2006
this coming ban has been public knowledge for several years. if I had to depend on a medicine like this for my health, I sure would have known about it in advance and done lots of research, talked with my doctors and been ready to go.

doesn't anyone on this forum take any personal responsibility for their healthcare?
another asthma sufferer

United States

#9 Dec 29, 2006
obviously Fred, you don't have asthma

San Jose, CA

#10 Jan 5, 2007
I can say that as of today they are available form Canada, I do not know if the CFC's are ban there. Maybe we should hold the head of FDA under water so they can't breath for 3-4 minutes and then ban fresh air. Since the inhaler is going in my lungs what effect could this possibly have on the ozone!!!!!!!!!!

Fremont, CA

#11 Jan 6, 2007
Huh? Could you be a little more clear. And how is trying to prevent destruction of the atmosphere selfish? Get a grip girly!
snowing lightly

United States

#12 Jan 10, 2007
Guess what? Surprise, surprise!

Just got my "new" prescription filled today and the price for the "new" inhalers (same number of inhalations, is TRIPLE the cost of the old ones!

Gee, do you think there's a possibility that the pharmaceutical companies discovered a way to profit immensely on a law that applies well to air conditioners, but not to something you put in your lungs and ONLY in your lungs!(Like THAT's going to affect air quality.)

The only effect this 'new' version is going to have is on our wallets! Shame shame shame shame!
snowing lightly

United States

#13 Jan 10, 2007
fred wrote:
this coming ban has been public knowledge for several years. if I had to depend on a medicine like this for my health, I sure would have known about it in advance and done lots of research, talked with my doctors and been ready to go.
doesn't anyone on this forum take any personal responsibility for their healthcare?
No, actually it hasn't been public knowledge for several years. Most patients using albuterol didn't actually know what the propellant was. Even the doctors weren't aware until very recently that this change was in the works.

AND the new version also has a propellant. How do we know: a.) that it isn't just as harmful (during the manufacturing process) to the environment and, b.) that it doesn't pose health hazards to patients, as it hasn't actually been time tested like the 'old' albuterol.

Brooklyn, NY

#14 Jan 11, 2007
Production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has been prohibited since 1996 by the EPA. ref: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/convert.html

that happened 11 years ago.

In March 2005, the FDA said inhalers using CFCs to dispense the prescription drug albuterol would be banned at the end of 2008.

that is just under 2 years ago.

this is not new information. get your facts correct.

Brooklyn, NY

#15 Jan 11, 2007
snowing lightly states it hasn't been "time tested" like the old albuterol. you are incorrect.

Proair HFA approved 2004. 2.5 years on the market
Proventil HFA approved 1996. 10 years on the market
Qvar HFA approved 2002. 5 years on the market
Ventolin HFA approved 2001. 6 years on the market
Xopenox HFA approved 2005. 1 year on the market.

i think there is a bit of experience out there with the HFA products for asthma. do your research, talk to your doctor. take responsibility for your health.
john Texas

San Marcos, TX

#16 Jan 12, 2007
fred, the list of approved drugs you posted are not Rescue inhalers. They are more for control of asthma. Albuterol is THE rescue inhaler. Your callous attitude is certain proof you dont have astma. People feeling like they are losing an important lifeline have a right to be concered. The reviews i have read about the replacement indicate it does not work well, its 3 times the cost and runs out quickly. I am deeply concerned as I use albuterol daily.
Why is it OK to inhale the stuff, but bad for the ozone?
snowing lightly

United States

#17 Jan 12, 2007
The law governing CFCs was intended to protect the environment, which of all people, asthmatics want to do! The big environmental impact was from use in refrigerators/freezers and in air conditioning units, both building and automotive.

With all due respect, "on the market" and "in use" are two very different things.I know of no one who actually used these HFA products until now (when there is no choice).As I said, even my doctor didn't realize that this change was taking place until notified by the pharmacies.

Originally, there had been an exception FOR MEDICAL USE (to the CFC regulations).

I still think the rush (note: it's not even 2008 yet, much less the END of 2008) to push these new versions of inhalers is PROFIT for the pharmaceutical companies. The new inhalers are 3 to 4 times more expensive than their predecessors.

Washington, DC

#18 Jan 17, 2007
I have tried to switch to the new HFA inhalers for sometime now and they just don't work as well. I understand the balance of taking care of the environment, however not being able to breath is a far greater priority in my book. Additionally, if this is a site for progress in the information of asthma some of you should watch your written tone and how you say things, people arenít going to listen to combative language. Has anyone looked into getting the old style inhalers from Canada?

Seattle, WA

#19 Jan 18, 2007
I have mild seasonal asthma, and just got one of the new HFA inhalers.

Not only does my new inhaler not work as well, it is causing horrible side effects! I understand that the environment is important, but the rush to get the old inhalers off the market does seem suspiciously like a for profit move ... and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but until the US effectively regulates fuel emissions, no environmental concern is going to make me feel guilty about using a medication that I need to BREATHE.

Brooklyn, NY

#20 Jan 21, 2007
You are correct. I don't have asthma. My wife does. Together we have been doing as much reading as possible about this situation so she can continue to get through her day in the future without a CFC inhaler. We accept reality and will be prepared for the day the CFC inhaler no long exists.

The "Rush" to get the old inhalers off the market began in 1993... when inhalers were acknowleged as an area of essential use which required a longer phase out time period. We are now 13 years into the "Rush" with another 22 months to go.

Complete details can found at the following location. I would encourage posters to do a little research before sharing their thoughts/ opinions. I do.


here are some key points from this webpage.

Chlorofluorocarbon Phaseout
Following the discovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the mid-1980s, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were implicated as the primary agent responsible for ozone depletion. This has led to movements calling for reduction and eventual elimination of ozone-depleting substances. International agreements, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, and national policy decisions have led industry and the scientific community to collaborate to find and develop safe alternatives to CFCs. Recent updates to the Protocol are outlined by Rowlands (1993) in "The Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol."

"Essential uses" are another issue in phaseout discussions. Devices that do not have approved alternative substances or that would not be economically feasible if they were to undergo full-scale replacement may be granted exemptions to phaseout provisions drawn by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Montreal Protocol. Metered-dose inhalers are one of the devices expected to receive exemption from the CFC ban. The C&EN article "CFC Users Seek Exemptions from Ban on Ozone-Depleting Substances" surveys possible exemptions (Zurer 1993).

The Montreal Protocol Technology and Assessment Panel reviews technological and economic factors involved in the replacement of controlled substances by existing alternative compounds in the chapter "Economics" of the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1991 Assessment (United Nations Environment Programme 1991). Among the panel's conclusions are that sufficient technology and alternative substances exist to warrant the accelerated phaseout schedules defined by the Protocol amendments. In addition, the panel concludes that the long-term economic interests of all countries, including developing nations, are served by following the time schedules set forth by the Protocol.

Based on the information provided in some of these links, I think the answer to the question "why is it ok to inhale, but bad for the ozone" can be found.

I am sorry if you think my posts are "callous" or combative. I disagree. They are simply factual. I have learned so much reading about this issue I was just trying to provide facts on this forum.

I wish you luck in the transition. I encourage you to start preparing now.

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