Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, this year, a common over-the-counter emergency asthma inhaler was forced off the pharmacy shelves due to an international treaty agreement. Now, patients who suffer from asthma and who find themselves awake at 2 a.m. with unexpected attacks and who don't have access to immediate inhalers, well, they've got a problem. It used to be a problem they could solve with a quick trip down to the 24-hour pharmacy. Now they have to go to the emergency room.
Although a replacement inhaler has been before the FDA's approval board, they've taken no action. When the ban on the available over-the-counter inhaler went into effect, most people expected the replacement would be available with no disruption, but this has not been the case. Because of the FDA's intransigence, our patients have nowhere to go.
I don't know why the FDA has not acted. I've asked them. They won't tell me. There is a simple solution:
The Environmental Protection Agency has within its authority the ability to waive the ban on the over-the-counter inhaler, allowing existing stock to be sold. Yet, despite multiple letters to the EPA and to President Obama and despite questions during committee hearings, they remain unresponsive.
Why has the EPA not approved the waiver? Again, you'll have to ask them. They are not telling me.
The minuscule number of chlorofluorocarbons that exists in the over-the-counter inhaler will have negligible affects on our ozone layer, especially considering the limited supply left.
The EPA should be on the side of the patients. Lisa Jackson and President Obama need to stop this senseless war on asthmatics.