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Public Statements

54 Senators Risk Health of Millions to Appease Environmentalists on Inhaler Ban


Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) made the following statement after the Senate voted 44-54against his amendment that would have stopped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ban on over-the-counter (OTC) epinephrine asthma inhalers. The amendment would have disallowed the use of taxpayer funds to enforce the ban on OTC inhalers. The ban is set to take effect in Jan. 1, 2012 and puts environmental concerns ahead of concerns for the estimated 3 million American asthma sufferers who use these inhalers.

"Fifty-four Senators voted to appease extreme environmentalists by banning inhalers that millions of Americans that depend on to breathe," said Senator DeMint. "This ban won't do anything serious to help the environment but it will force asthma suffers to spend two to three times more on prescription inhalers, leading many low-income Americans to seek less effective remedies. Even the EPA and FDA admit that banning OTC inhalers will do little to nothing to affect the ozone, but it could lead to hundreds of thousands of new asthma related hospital visits and hundreds of millions in new health costs."

"This is exactly the kind of ridiculous regulation that shows why Americans are so fed up with the federal government's nanny-state mentality. Once again, Washington is willing to put Americans at risk in the hopes of appeasing special interests."

The FDA estimated that the inhaler ban may result in asthma sufferers self-medicating with less effective remedies, and could lead to an increase in annual health expenditures from $180 million to $1.1 billion and hospital ER visits for asthma could increase by anywhere from 0 to 444,000

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