Special Report by Jim Lantern
Final Update 24 August 2015: Because of an unexpected development. I will permanently leave Reno Nevada on Thursday 3 September 2015 via Greyhound Bus. Destination not yet decided. I’ll be surviving on $851 Social Security Disability benefits, and will likely become homeless wherever I am if/when the money runs out before the end of September. So I will not be trying to buy Primatene Tablets here before I depart Reno. If asthma is bad at destination, then I’ll try to buy them there. As is, I have 4 tablets remaining – good for 8 attacks by cutting them in half. Normal bronchial asthma attacks have been much less here in Reno compared to my former home in Norman Oklahoma, and Wichita Kansas where I was born, as well as other cities in other states where I’ve lived and worked. However, “cold air asthma” has been worse at this higher altitude with lower humidity. “Cold air asthma” can be just as fatal as normal bronchial asthma from allergies and pollution. Apartments I lived at for 7 years in Norman were sold and scheduled to be bulldozed. A similar thing is happening here in Reno. Loss of affordable housing is now the number one cause of homeless here in the United States – including whole families with children.
Special Update 14 August 2015; Since stats show ongoing interest in this subject: I moved from Norman Oklahoma to Reno Nevada 4 May 2015. I brought a supply of 24 Primatene Tablets with me, bought at CVS in Norman before I departed. In Norman I was going through a box of 24 on the average in one month. I’ve been in Reno for over 3 months now, and I still have 4 tablets. I usually cut a tablet in half, which is enough of a dose to stop normal attacks. I get “cold air asthma” as well as from various things in the air that trigger attacks. Most of the attacks I’ve had in Reno have been “cold air asthma” attacks when walking over to the 7-Eleven early mornings. It gets cold here at night, but the afternoons are warm to hot. Normal asthma attacks have dropped significantly since moving here. The air quality is better here. The higher altitude does not bother me, and in fact it is easier for me to breathe at a higher altitude. Anyway, I’ve not yet tried to buy Primatene Tablets here. I’ll have to do so in next month’s budget – September 2015. I’ll try Walgreen’s and Walmart. There’s no CVS store here. If there is a problem with either of those, then I’ll do another update. I should also mention that drinking coffee, some soft drinks with caffeine, and taking Excedrin with caffeine in it, knocks down mild attacks.
Originally Published 9:50 a.m. CT Sunday 13 July 2014 – Moved from my former “Timeglass Health Journal” WordPress Site (I’ve discontinued) to be republished 4:50 p.m. CT Monday 26 January 2015 here at Lantern Timeglass Journal.
Update Note: I continue to buy Primatene Tablets as needed without incident at the nearest CVS. I’m aware of news stories reporting an increase of bronchial asthma here in the United States, especially children. While living here in Norman Oklahoma since 3 May 2008, it’s been worse for me from mid-August to mid-December each year. I’m not sure of the cause, but I suspect air pollution mainly from students driving their cars to nearby Oklahoma University. The kind of allergy symptoms I suffer from during early spring each year, mainly caused by tree pollen, do not cause asthma attacks. I do also get “cold air asthma” during the winter months when exposed to air under 40F. I will be moving by end of may 2015. The apartments complex where I live has been sold, and will be bulldozed in August 2015. I’m barely surviving on disability benefits now nearly at age 59, so finding a place I can afford and getting moved will not be easy. I’m open to suggestions. By the way, my doctor (MD) dumped me. Most doctors here are dumping their patients covered by Medicare. The waiting time for seeing most doctors still accepting patients covered by Medicare is now about 6 weeks.
5:10 p.m. CT Friday 25 July 2014
- A person at Twitter has reported being able to buy Primatene Tablets at Walmart.
- Feedback from another reader has confirmed Walgreens has continued sales of Primatene Tablets.
- As more people run out and complain, maybe more businesses will continue selling Primatene Tablets.
- Same law and rules for businesses keeping it behind counter, and customers have to show ID and sign for it.
2:30 p.m. CT Wednesday 23 July 2014
- CVS is restocking its warehouse with Primatene Tablets and is now continuing sales of it. Good business decision.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE UPDATED 28 August 2014:
For different lengths of time, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, other pharmacies, and other retail outlets,stopped stocking and selling Primatene Tablets. It was their policy to no longer admit that to customers in their stores because of angry reactions of customers resulting in police being called. Their websites no longer listed Primatene Tablets as a product sold in their stores. The Primatene Tablets website itself stopped being updated in 2013 by Pfizer – the company that was manufacturing them. Their website refers customers to Drugstore.com – which has discontinued sales of them – refers customers to Walgreens – which for a while discontinued sales of them – only listing information about the product.
Primatene Tablets contain Ephedrine, which is one of the drugs that can be used to create Methamphetamine, which of course is illegal. Some over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines were moved behind the counter at pharmacies nationwide as part of the fight against illegal drugs production. The original USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten-letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.
On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act:
- roving wiretaps
- searches of business records (the “library records provision”)
- conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups
Under an update of the Patriot Act signed by President Bush on 9 March 2006, all drug products that contain the ingredient Pseudoephedrine must be kept behind the pharmacy counter and must be sold in limited quantities to consumers after they show identification and sign a logbook. The law was expanded to include Ephedrine when it was discovered to be a usable alternative by the makers of the illegal drugs. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA) is federal legislation enacted in the United States on 9 March 2006, to regulate, among other things, retail over-the-counter sales of following products because of their use in the manufacture of illegal drugs:
- Phenylpropanolamine (no longer OTC due to a proposed increased risk of stroke in younger women)
Retail provisions of the CMEA include daily sales limits and 30-day purchase limits, placement of product out of direct customer access, sales log books, customer ID verification, employee training, and self-certification of regulated sellers. The CMEA is found as Title VII of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 3199). The last provisions of the law took effect on 30 September 2006.
Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine are precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine. They are also common ingredients used to make cough, cold, and allergy products. It was argued that the CMEA would curtail the clandestine production of Methamphetamine. The U.S. Department of Justice claims that states that have enacted similar or more restrictive retail regulations have seen a dramatic drop in small clandestine labs.
“The CMEA requires record-keeping and identification of all sales and reports to law enforcement of any ‘suspicious’ transactions. Purchasers are limited to ‘3.6 grams of Pseudoephedrine base’ per day and 9 grams per month. (Buying more than that is a federal misdemeanor.)” The statute also includes the following requirements for merchants who sell these products:
- A retrievable record of all purchases identifying the name and address of each party to be kept for two years
- Required verification of proof of identity of all purchasers
- Required protection and disclosure methods in the collection of personal information
- Reports to the Attorney General of any suspicious payments or disappearances of the regulated products
- Required training of employees with regard to the requirements of the CMEA; Retailer must self-certify as to training and compliance
- Non-liquid dose form of regulated product may only be sold in unit dose blister packs
- Regulated products are to be sold behind the counter or in a locked cabinet in such a way as to restrict public access
- Daily sales of regulated products not to exceed 3.6 grams without regard to the number of transactions
- 30 day (not monthly) sales limit not to exceed 7.5 grams if sold by mail-order or “mobile retail vendor”
- 30 day purchase limit not to exceed 9 grams of Pseudoephedrine base in regulated products (misdemeanor possession offense under 21 USC 844a for the individual who buys it)
- Prescriptions are exempt from logbook requirements.
Originally, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency wanted to ban Pseudoephedrine, as well as Ephedrine. They lost that legal battle. Then they wanted those drugs to be reclassified as prescription drugs. They also lost that battle. They finally settled for having the drugs put behind the counter, so customers have to ask for them, and then sign for them with legal ID being scanned or copied. Customers complained they were being treated like suspected criminals and that it violated their legal right to privacy for health issues. Basically, the U.S. Government, DOJ, DEA and local law enforcement could not care less about the privacy of consumers and how they feel about being treated like suspects of crimes.
At last count in 2012, 20% of U.S. citizens suffer from asthma-related allergies. A total of 55% suffer from other allergies not associated with asthma. About 8% of adults, 18.7 million Americans, now in 2014, have bronchial asthma. About 9.3% of children, 6.8 million, here in the U.S. have asthma. It’s not a question of what percentage of Americans get head colds each year, but how many head colds each American gets each year, who buy cold medicines containing Pseudoephedrine or other drugs now controlled by the government in the same way. For example, customers have to show ID and sign for cough syrup. In 2012, the U.S. population was nearly 314 million. An estimated 12 million used illegal Methamphetamine, which is nearly 4% of the population. For the comparison to asthma patients, about 8% to 20% of Americans are being punished for the crimes of about 4% of the population. Likewise 20% to 55% of people who suffer from allergies. Then there’s an uncountable number of people who get head colds nearly every year.
Every day in America:
- 44,000 people have an asthma attack.
- 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
- 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
- 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
- 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
- 9 people die from asthma.
- Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma (over 8% of adults, over 9% of children), and 60% of asthma cases are “allergic-asthma.” The prevalence of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.
- Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children.
- Asthma is more common among adult women than adult men.
- Asthma is more common among male children than female children.
- Asthma is more common among children (7 to 10%) than adults (3 to 5%).
- Nearly 5 million asthma sufferers are under age 18. It is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than one child in 20.
- Asthma is slightly more prevalent among African-Americans than Caucasians.
- Ethnic differences in asthma prevalence, morbidity and mortality are highly correlated with poverty, urban air quality, indoor allergens, and lack of patient education and inadequate medical care.
- Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the U.S. each year, with 1.75 million emergency room visits.
- Each year, asthma accounts for more than 10 million outpatient visits and 479,000 hospitalizations.
- The average length of stay (LOS) for asthma hospitalizations is 4.3 days.
- Nearly half (44%) of all asthma hospitalizations are for children.
- Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization children.
- Asthma is the #1 chronic cause of school absenteeism among children each year accounting for more than 13 million total missed days of school.
- Asthma accounts for more than 10 million total missed days of work for adults each year.
- African-Americans are three times more likely to be hospitalized from asthma.
- Each day 9 Americans die from asthma. There are more than 3,300 deaths due to asthma each year, many of which are avoidable with proper treatment and care. In addition, asthma is indicated as “contributing factor” for nearly 7,000 other deaths each year.
- Since 1980 asthma death rates overall have increased more than 50% among all genders, age groups and ethnic groups. The death rate for children under 19 years old has increased by nearly 80% percent since 1980.
- More females die of asthma than males, and women account for nearly 65% of asthma deaths overall.
- African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma. African-American Women have the highest asthma mortality rate of all groups, more than 2.5 times higher than Caucasian women.
Social and Economic Costs:
- The annual cost of asthma is estimated to be nearly $18 billion.
- Direct costs accounted for nearly $10 billion (hospitalizations the single largest portion of direct cost) and indirect costs of $8 billion (lost earnings due to illness or death).
- For adults, asthma is the fourth leading cause of work absenteeism and “presenteeism,” resulting in nearly 15 million missed or lost (“less productive”) workdays each year (this accounts for nearly $3 billion of the “indirect costs” shown above).
- Among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is the leading cause of school absences from a chronic illness. It accounts for an annual loss of more than 14 million school days per year (approximately 8 days for each student with asthma) and more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease. It is estimated that children with asthma spend nearly 8 million days per year restricted to bed.
If you buy any of those drugs containing Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine, then your name will end up on a list of suspects. If you buy too much of one of those drugs or too often, then you might get visited at home by local police, or DEA agents, or others in law enforcement who investigate the suspected makers and users of Methamphetamine. They will not be nice about it. They will bully you and treat you as a criminal – not innocent until proven guilty. They will ransack your home. They might take some of your property, such as cell phones and computers to be checked for use in illegal drugs trafficking. They don’t care about the U.S. Constitution, and especially the Second Amendment. If you have a gun, even if it is legally owned, they will take it. You can eventually get it back, but it could take a while.
Because of new government contracts granted to Experian, all of this can end up on your credit report – not the free one you can see – not the more expensive one you can pay to see, but the one businesses see, potential employers see, and of course the government sees, as well as the military such as for security clearances. You could end up being blacklisted and blocked from some jobs for having a record of buying those legal drugs. You are permanently a suspect without opportunity to prove yourself innocent. Because this is associated with the Patriot Act, it can get your name added to terrorist watch lists. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, and over 30 other states attorney generals are suing and taking other legal action against Experian, and by that process have confirmed Experian is in fact placing innocent Americans on terrorist watch lists, which is in fact preventing many people from getting jobs. Experian now controls security and ID confirmation for U.S. Government websites, including all health care related websites, and provides background checks on all U.S. citizens.
It’s not just an inconvenience for customers buying asthma medicine, allergy medicine, cold and cough medicine. It’s also an inconvenience for retailers. They have to collect the information on buyers and then send it to local law enforcement and the federal government. In fact, it has just recently become such a huge inconvenience that most retailers will no longer sell those over-the-counter non-prescription drugs. CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart are phasing them out for that reason. Also, there have been many customer complaints for how they were mistreated by clerks who believe that all people who buy those drugs very likely are criminals. It does make a difference if you are a man in a suit and tie when buying them, or dressed in your casual Saturday clothes, as well as if you are clean-shaven man or have a beard and mustache. Local police have shown local retailers pictures of convicted meth users, and most of the males have beards and mustaches. It’s a kind of profiling and discrimination.
I’ve had bronchial asthma all of my life – now age 58. I’ve been buying Primatene Tablets to treat my asthma attacks since 1974. Primatene Tablets have always been over-the-counter non-prescription. Recent years, I’d buy them in boxes of 24 for about $6 to $7 per box, which would last me 1 to 2 months. I usually don’t take anything for a mild attack, but anything with caffeine in it helps to stop those mild attacks. I take a half tablet for moderate attacks, of which most of my attacks are moderate. I take a whole tablet for severe attacks. Rare extremely severe attacks might require and additional dose, and usually that’s an indication of continued exposure to an asthma attack trigger such as pollen or pollution in the air.
I was buying Primatene Tablets at Walmart, until Walmart stopped selling them. Then I was buying them at Walgreens, until Walgreens stopped selling them. For the past year I’ve been buying them at CVS. A month ago, I went in to buy more. I was told they are “sold out.” I asked when that CVS store – just a mile from my apartment – would have more. I was told the truck delivers on Thursdays, then most items are stocked on Friday. I came back the Saturday after that. I was told that the Primatene Tablets didn’t come in with that shipment. The pharmacist then said he would make certain they are on the next order for the following Thursday. I came back the following Saturday. None yet. I was then told that the pharmacy can’t order them because they are not a pharmacy item – although the pharmacy keeps them behind the pharmacy counter. It is a store item the store manager must order. So then I talked to the store manager. She thought the warehouse might be out of them. I asked her to check. She refused. I asked of she would place a special order for me, or at least make sure they would be on the next order. She refused. “It’ll get done when it gets done.” Then I sensed I’m being lied to, so I asked, “Has CVS discontinued selling Primatene Tablets?” She answered, “Not so far as I know.” Then she changed her story just a bit. “I can’t really order them anyway. The home office orders for all of the stores.” I’d heard that before, when other items I’d regularly been buying at CVS was discontinued. One of the clerks even engaged in history revision for one of those items. “No. You must be thinking of another store. This store has never sold that product.” It is a mistake to argue with them. CVS has a history of calling police on customers who get even slightly upset. It happens a lot. They haven’t called police on me, but I’ve witnessed it happening to other customers several times. So I didn’t press the issue.
I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never been charged with a crime. I’ve never been in jail. I’ve never sold or used illegal drugs. I never smoked cigarettes because of my life-long history of bronchial asthma. I permanently quit drinking all alcoholic beverages at age 30 in 1986 when I began to get bleeding stomach ulcers.
Back at home from CVS that day, I checked the websites of CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. They no longer list Primatene Tablets as an item that can be purchased in their stores. I checked the Primatene website. It sent me to Drugstore.com. There, I found that they no longer sell them, and are referring customers to Walgreens for purchase of Primatene Tablets. Big run-around! So, I was lied to when I was at CVS today. CVS no longer stocks Primatene Tablets. They, like the others, have been bullied by law enforcement, and truckloads of federal paperwork, to stop selling those drugs. Primatene, having lost its mist inhaler business, and now outlets for its tablets, is going out of business.
My time was running out. If I were to run out of Primatene Tablets, then I could die within 15 minutes after the start of a severe bronchial asthma attack. It’s not just allergies, and pollution in the air. I also get “cold air asthma” during the coldest winter months. A “cold air asthma attack” is more likely to kill me than pollen or pollution, so far.
Usually a half tablet will stop most moderate attacks. It takes a full tablet to stop a severe attack. I can get by without it for mild attacks. I can knock down mild attacks with caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, or Excedrin.
By the way, attempts are being made to get Excedrin banned or reclassified as a prescription drug – for having two pain relievers in it, in addition to caffeine. Bill Clinton is behind that push, as well as trying to ban most pain relievers – prescription as well as over-the-counter non-prescription pain meds. It’s the usual hypocrisy engaged in by liberal Democrats. They want to make medical marijuana legal as a pain reliever, while banning good legal pain relief drugs. Sure, some are addictive, if abused to begin with. Some of that abuse is caused by doctors pushing those drugs on patients to get kickback rewards from the drug manufacturing companies. The FDA approved the drugs. Once approved, they usually don’t get unapproved. However, under the present liberal government of President Obama, any evil to be inflicted on innocent Americans is possible.
Additional Experience and Related History – Primatene Mist:
Many years ago, the U.S. government signed an agreement with other nations via the U.N. to ban all Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because of claims it damages the ozone layer of earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, all products containing and using CFCs were banned. Even so, it took many years to phase them out. No exceptions were allowed. The nations refusing to agree to this produce the most CFCs. The amount of CFCs used by the nations agreeing to ban CFCs is not enough to save the ozone. At best, the damage would be slowed down only slightly. Assuming the claim is true to begin with, rather than another lie by environmentalists to shift the mechanisms of wealth from those who they oppose to those who they support. CFCs are gases used in refrigerants and aerosols. They contain carbon, (sometimes hydrogen,) chlorine, and fluorine. In 1978, Sweden became the first country that banned CFC products. Later, the US and Canada did the same. Now, CFC products are not allowed in most countries, because of the claim that they destroy the ozone layer. CFCs also are claimed to be greenhouse gases, creating a natural-made greenhouse effect. An alternative is hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Those do not destroy the ozone layer or increase global warming.
As a person who has suffered from bronchial asthma all of my life – now 58 years old, I care about the environment, especially the atmosphere, the air we breathe, with all of the natural and man-made pollution in it. I believe most of the environmental movement is a false front for businesses seeking a means to force their competition out of business. The loss of one is the gain of another. We live in an evil money-driven greedy vulture culture.
Primatene Mist, a drug and delivery system, for people who suffer from bronchial asthma, was banned a few years ago, because the delivery system uses CFCs. All of Primatene Mist, including the CFCs, were inhaled through the mouth into the lungs, 100% of all contents absorbed by the body. None escaped into the atmosphere. Therefore, it was a blatant lie that Primatene Mist use was contributing to pollution and damage to the ozone layer of earth’s atmosphere. Anyone with common sense, who understands it, can see Primatene Mist was never a threat to anyone. In fact, it saved lives, including mine, more than once. Even so, the law the U.S. agreed to does not allow for any exceptions.
There was not a reasonable transition from Primatene Mist to alternatives that do not contain CFCs. The Primatene Mist inhalers cost only about $10 and for me lasted 1 to 3 months. Normally, I took Primatene tablets as needed. I carried the mist inhaler with me everywhere, using it only for emergencies – quick relief – faster relief than the tablets, and to do so when it was not convenient or possible to take a tablet. The only new mist version, which does not contain CFCs, is much more expensive – so much more expensive that it amount to price gauging – ripping off people who suffer from asthma, taking advantage of people in an extremely vulnerable situation, knowing there are no other alternatives for that kind, no competition to help keep the price down to a reasonable level.
About that same time, Glaxo Smith Kline came out with a new asthma medicine in powder form, the Advair Diskus, a device used to inhale a powder through the mouth into the lungs. GSK began bribing doctors with money kickbacks and other kinds of rewards to force it on their patients. My doctor tried to force it on me for that reason. The idea of taking a powder into my lungs did not appeal to me. Insurance would cover part of it, but I could not afford the co-pay on it even if I wanted to use it. I did some online research on the new drug. For the kind of asthma I have, and known causes, even GSK recommends not using it. So I refused the prescription. By the way, I’d not had any serous asthma attacks that entire year – 2012. I wasn’t seeing that doctor to treat my asthma. He was not an asthma specialist. I was seeing him for anemia and bleeding stomach ulcers. He insisted on treating me for asthma anyway. My doctor got angry at me when I refused to accept the prescription. I was accused of going against medical advice – known as an AMA violation. He sent legal notice to me through the U.S. Mail to terminate our doctor-patient relationship. Then he used a local computer network shared by local doctors and the local hospital to have me blacklisted so no other doctor will accept me as a patient. He listed 2 other AMAs. Because of those, the hospital emergency room can turn me away for treatment for the disorders related to the AMAs. I refused my doctor’s treatment for asthma, and therefore the hospital emergency room can turn me away for treatment of my asthma. It’s legal. Hospitals lobbied Congress for them to have the legal right to deny emergency room service under certain circumstances. Congress approved it.
My Political Position:
I’ve average out to be a “centrist” by agreeing with liberal Democrats on some issues – mainly personal and social, while agreeing with conservative Republicans on an equal number of issues – mainly economic and government. My position on specific issues has not changed. I’m registered as an Independent voter. I’m not a member of any political party.
I’m in favor of Republicans taking back control of the U.S. Senate and keeping control of the U.S. House of Representatives with the November 2014 mid-term elections, as well as taking back The White House in November 2016, because of the abuse of power engaged in and the damage done by President Obama, especially with the “Affordable” Care Act.
At the same time, I know from personal experience, that the people who I voted to represent me in the House and Senate do not do so, and in fact all requests by me have always been ignored. I will not vote to keep those same specific individuals in their current jobs. It is a fact that “We the People” no longer have a “representative government” and that our “democracy” is an illusion and a scam. Liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in the U.S. Federal Government no longer have any respect for the U.S. Constitution, the rights of U.S. citizens, as well as our privacy and security. They do not care about our health. They only care about the cost of health care. It’s money first, and actual health care last – if any at all, in an evil greedy vulture culture.
“What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?” – Padmé in Star Wars III.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke, Whig politician and statesman who is often regarded as the father of modern conservatism.
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