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Phasing out CFCs in metered-dose inhalers

Plans for the management of the phasing out of CFCs in the production of metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has recently been set out in a European Commission communication. The production of CFCs was banned in d...
Plans for the management of the phasing out of CFCs in the production of metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has recently been set out in a European Commission communication. The production of CFCs was banned in developed countries in 1996 under the Montreal Protocol in order to protect the ozone layer, however an essential use exemption allowed their continued production and use for MDIs while alternatives were being developed.

The proposed Commission strategy sets out how the use of CFCs in MDIs can be reduced, and eventually phased out, as alternatives are introduced, without jeopardising the health of patients. The strategy sets out three principles, namely:

- That all those involved will promote the transition to non-CFC alternatives;
- That the health and safety of patients during the transition will be safeguarded;
- That nomination, approval and licensing systems will be operated with efficiency, consistency and transparency.

The communication calls on the EU's national health authorities to promote the transition required, by not approving any new MDIs which contain CFCs for use in the Community market and by promoting the efficient marketing approval of CFC-free inhalers, avoiding delays. The communication also gives an indication of the alternatives which may be used such as dry-powder inhalers.
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