Asthma Network Exposes Potentially Dangerous Asthma Medications

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Dangerous Asthma Medications

Millions of doses of potentially dangerous inhalation asthma drugs are distributed to respiratory patients every year - and state and federal agencies don't have the resources to stop it.

Patients face serious health risks, even death. These medications are not FDA-approved for safety, effectiveness or sterility - and the pharmacies that manufacture and dispense these medications do not want patients to know these critical facts. According to Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), physicians could be held liable for patient injury - even though they don't know patients are inhaling unapproved medications.

"When CMS announced it would no longer pay for compounded inhalation medications because of safety concerns and lack of data supporting their use, the respiratory community breathed a sigh of relief," said Nancy Sander, President and Founder of AANMA. "When FDA warned certain companies to stop mass manufacturing inhalation medications that were not FDA-approved, we saw it as a step in the right direction, but it failed to stop other businesses from ramping up production. These businesses claim that they are compounding - that is, mixing medications that are not commercially available for single patients at a time - when our evidence tells quite a different story."

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AANMA is asking Congress to enact legislation that would protect patient access to necessary compounded and FDA-approved medications while eliminating illegal mass manufacturing under the guise of compounding, a move that has strong support from patients, medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies who manufacture FDA-approved medications - and strong opposition from pharmacy businesses who want to manufacture medications without FDA regulation.

Legislation to stop unregulated mass manufacturing of asthma medications is among key issues being discussed at AANMA's Asthma Conference April 30-May 2, 2007. This is the first national conference to bring together physicians, school nurses, respiratory therapists, patients and families to address critical respiratory issues and take those issues directly to Congress.

Other critical issues for the conference include the respiratory implications of natural and manmade disasters, safe patient transition from metered-dose inhalers containing ozone-depleting CFC propellants, progress on state laws protecting student access to lifesaving medications, and the growing shortage of physicians in the U.S. - including allergy and immunology specialists. Speakers include Congressional staff members, Hill experts and representatives from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

On the last day of the conference, attendees will meet with their members of Congress and hear from other Congressional speakers at AANMA's 10th annual Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill. Conference attendees will acquire techniques for working with national, state and local lawmakers. At home they will have the skills to better communicate with their insurance companies, school administrators and the media.

"With this conference, we can look at respiratory problems today and together find solutions for a breathable tomorrow," said Ms. Sander.

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