HFA metered dose inhalers

| Pharma
The NYT has an article, about the transition from CFC to HFA metered dose asthma inhalers (because of the negative effect of CFCs on the ozone layer). [See here for calculations about the total amount of CFC emissions from MDIs]. There have been some problems, including:

  • The HFA inhalers have a weaker spray than the CFC inhalers so people worry that they're not getting a full dose. This is a particular problem since the old CFC inhalers tended to produce a weaker spray when they were just about empty.
  • Ventolin HFA has a dose counter so you know whether you are getting down to the end of the inhaler.
  • This spray is particularly weak with the ProAir, which, for some reason, is preferred by a lot of health insurance plans. I've used the ProAir and can attest to having had some concern about whether it's working or not. ProAir, unfortunately, does not have a dose counter.
  • The new albuterol HFA inhalers aren't available in generic, so this increases people's costs significantly.

It's just not the albuterol inhalers which have been changed over. The inhaled corticosteroids are transitioning over as well, but because they're not used as rescue inhalers, I guess people are less sensitive about whether they're working or not.

In other pharma news, generic omeprazole (Prilosec) is now on the market, though prices don't seem to be much less than the brand name version. I wonder if eventually it will come in huge jars for $.01 a pill like ibuprofen.