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Friday 27 October 2006

Study critical of newer asthma inhaler favoured by Pharmac

By: Radio New Zealand

A study says asthmatics have had more attacks and hospitalisations since the government stopped fully funding a popular inhaler.

Nearly two years ago; the State drug funding agency, Pharmac, removed some of the subsidy on Ventolin inhalers in favour of a cheaper one, Salamol.

The latest Medical Journal has published a study of 36 asthmatics who changed to Salamol.

Whangarei researcher, Dr Shane Reti, says it was a disaster for most of them, as their asthma's stability deteriorated.

Dr Reti says one in every six New Zealander suffers from asthma and there should be more fully subsidised options. He urges Pharmac to go back to fully funding Ventolin - so patients will have fully funded access to both inhalers. The Asthma Foundation agrees.

Pharmac says the study was small so it won't re-evaluate the products.

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