An FDA mandate that came into effect on Dec. 31 dictates that all albuterol metered-dose asthma inhalers marketed in the U.S. must use hydrofluroalkane (HFA) propellants, as opposed to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants.
Most manufacturers, like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Schering-Plough, hurried to make the transition and have increased production to ensure an adequate supply of HFA inhalers. Armstrong Pharmaceuticals has not yet done so, the FDA said.
Rescue inhalers can be costly: some HFA inhalers may sell for as much as $60 for certain brands. To make the life-saving medication affordable, Walmart is going to sell the ReliOn Ventolin HFA inhaler for $9.