A friend of ours went to the Huashi Pharmacy, at the Portman, to purchase the inhaler she uses due to asthma. She didn’t have a prescription, but she never needed one before. As long as she had lived in Shanghai, such meds were always over-the-counter, perhaps because of the excellent air quality found in the city. But on Saturday, the workers at the pharmacy told her she could no longer buy the inhaler she needed to breathe without a prescription. Why? “Because of the Olympics,” she was told. A little more digging shows that certain inhalers are considered stimulants by the International Olympic Committee, and thus new regulations were put into effect. Luckily, our friend had health insurance and walked to her doctor’s office, got a prescription and her meds — the expenses were all covered, but for uninsured asthmatics, this policy change could be quite a surprise hit to the pocketbook. Just thought we’d warn you: Don’t wait until the middle of an asthma attack to get all your paperwork in order.