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Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I thank the ranking member for yielding me this time.

Madam Speaker, there are a number of reasons why H.R. 6190 is poor public policy, but I'd like to focus on just one, and that is the unfair advantage that this bill will grant to a single business to the detriment of other businesses and manufacturers. And, in fact, the Congress has received a letter from the International Pharmaceutical Aerosol Consortium:

On behalf of the International Pharmaceutical Aerosol Consortium--an association of companies that manufacture medicines for the treatment of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease--I am writing to you today in opposition to H.R. 6190.

IPAC's members include AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and a number of other manufacturers. They say that they strongly oppose efforts within the House of Representatives to lift the December 31, 2011, ban on the sale of CFC-based epinephrine Primatene Mist because such drastic reversal in settled law will be, one, unnecessary to protect the public health of asthma patients; and, two, it's contrary to the United States' important and long-standing commitment to international treaties.

They point out that this has been ongoing for two decades. The companies involved in international manufacture, national manufacturers, have known about this for a long time. They say the only possible beneficiary of a reversal of the ban on Primatene Mist would be its manufacturer, which stands to garner a financial windfall if its limited stocks are sold. Granting extraordinary, unwarranted special treatment to a single company would send an extremely negative signal to manufacturers that responded to the U.S. Government's call many years ago to be a partner in meeting our commitment. Similar prior requests for deadline relief have been firmly denied by all of the relevant agencies.

Now, here's the problem: I was contacted by a Florida company some months ago. Part of the early rationale for this bill was there was no alternative. But this Florida manufacturer that played by the rules called me up. They said, We hear about this hearing on Capitol Hill. Do you know that we are manufacturing an alternative to Primatene Mist that will be over-the-counter and that will be affordable?

Nephron Pharmaceuticals has developed such a product, Asthmanefrin, a handheld, battery-operated device that will allow asthma patients to inhale a drug similar to epinephrine in Primatene Mist. It is readily available at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com, CVS.com. It's also accessible through McKesson Drug, a national wholesaler; Smith Drug, a wholesaler covering the Southeast; and OptiSource. They are doing a national TV campaign now. They have starter kits. This is available. So that rationale, that early rationale that there is no alternative does not exist anymore.

But here's the important point: We can't have the Congress granting an advantage to a single company to the disadvantage of other companies that have played by the rules. This bill would seriously undermine the investment decisions of innovative companies like Nephron that have developed alternatives and solutions to short-term asthma relief. Congress should not pick winners and losers.

Colleagues, we repeatedly heard the rationale for this bill: there was no alternative. That rationale is incorrect. It's inaccurate. Congress should not pull the rug out from under companies that have followed the rules and expect regulatory certainty in order to benefit another single company.

I urge you to vote ``no'' on H.R. 6190.

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