Will a generic albuterol hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) inhaler or a cortisone HFA inhaler ever be available? Many patients choose not to treat their asthma until they have an acute exacerbation. These same patients often cannot or are unwilling to pay the higher copayment for nongeneric medication. — Janet Wafer, FNP-C, Purchase, N.Y.

In its final ruling, the FDA established that production and sale of single ingredient albuterol metered-dose inhalers that contain chloro­fluorocarbons stop as of December 31, 2008.

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Ever since, patients have been forced to purchase brand-name HFA inhalers. The first of those patents expired in 2009 and 2010, but no generic versions have yet to appear in the marketplace. Speculation indicates that the next round of patent expirations will take place in 2014 and 2015. In the meantime, individuals with no insurance coverage may benefit from specific pharmaceutical company patient-assistance programs. — Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP (178-1)

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