Fairfax, VA – April 22, 2009 – Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is honored to be a recipient of the prestigious Environmental Protection Agency Ozone Layer Protection Award for Extraordinary Public Communication and Outreach Supporting the Transition to Ozone-Safe Inhalers at the EPA Awards Ceremony and Reception held at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The award featured some of AANMA’s achievements on behalf of patients, including the Smart Moves to an HFA Inhaler national campaign for medical professionals and patients, AANMA’s interactive web-based education program, Allergy & Asthma Today quarterly magazine, The MA Report newsletter and the AANMA Support Center established to answer patients’ questions submitted via e-mail and toll-free phone line. Also recognized was AANMA’s outreach to members of Congress on behalf of patients at AANMA’s annual Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill events.
AANMA formed a working group of patient and medical associations and pharmaceutical and device manufacturers to inform patients and medical care providers that propellants in metered-dose inhalers would be changing and how to make the transition safely and in a medically responsible manner.
Our challenge was that 20 years ago when the U.S. signed onto the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to eliminate ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, no funding was allocated for public awareness campaigns (aka, analog-to-digital television transition), patient and medical professional education, surveillance programs to monitor patient progress and capture data related to deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits, or to offset patient costs of switching from generic CFC inhalers to non-ozone-depleting substitutes.
FDA and EPA mandates did not include public and professional education and awareness. As new inhalers became available, agencies turned to nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical industry to fill these gaps. By combining resources and utilizing coupons, electronic media, publications, posters and a network of volunteers, AANMA and working group members sought to make the transition smooth for every patient and medical care provider.
Most people have been using non-ozone-depleting metered-dose inhalers for several years as those containing CFC propellants were phased out in compliance with the Montreal Protocol. Albuterol metered-dose inhalers containing CFC propellants were the first drugs the Food and Drug Administration banned as a result of the treaty on December 31, 2008.
While the vast majority of patients report no problems having made the transition, an Internet-based campaign promising to reverse the Montreal Protocol’s ban of CFC inhalers has caused public health concerns among vulnerable populations. AANMA continues to reach out to individuals to help them overcome barriers to optimal care as outlined in the National Asthma Education Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma as part of its mission to eliminate suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.
Founded in 1985, Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics is the leading national nonprofit family organization dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA’s core areas of expertise are education, advocacy and outreach. The organization’s www.aanma.org website and award-winning publications, Allergy & Asthma Today magazine and The MA Report newsletter, are consumer lifelines to medical news and healthy living. For more information, call 800.878.4403 or visit www.aanma.org.
About EPA Ozone Protection Awards
The EPA’s Ozone Layer Protection Awards were established in 1990 to recognize outstanding contributions to ozone layer protection, and the Climate Protection Awards were established in 1998 to recognize companies, organizations and individuals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since the annual awards began, EPA has honored recipients from more than 50 different countries.