The global challenge of asthma and COPD

Chronic respiratory disease is a worldwide health burden.1,2 Globally, it is estimated that

334 million people live with asthma.1

COPD is currently the fourth leading cause of mortality worldwide according to the WHO, and is predicted to rise to the third leading cause by 2030.2 Despite decades of innovation to treat asthma and COPD, a large proportion of patients suffer from inadequate control of their disease, and there is an ongoing underestimation of disease severity.3,4

It is well recognised that issues with treatment adherence can contribute to disease severity and lack of symptom control. Treatment adherence is a growing issue across a multitude of therapy areas, so much so that the WHO has defined it as the ‘new pharmacological problem’.5 In asthma and COPD specifically, mean adherence rates are particularly low, with around half of people with asthma or COPD not adhering to treatment.6 This has significant consequences for health, leading to poor health outcomes whilst placing a huge burden on healthcare resources.7

Adherence is a complex issue, incorporating both intentional and non-intentional factors which are specific to each patient.8 In order to treat each patient effectively, it is crucial for clinicians to consider individual patient perceptions and characteristics, and to move away from a

‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.9-11
Patient persona 1
Patient persona 2
Patient persona 3
Patient persona 4

There is an opportunity for future treatments and technologies to address issues with adherence through tracking and personalised feedback. This, in turn, would have the potential to improve medication delivery, and may lead to better disease control.12

Light bulb

At present, individual challenges and unmet needs can be difficult to uncover due to a lack of clear, accurate and reliable data regarding inhaler usage. With more accurate information, there is potential for more informed conversations between patients and healthcare providers, enhancing the move towards shared decision-making and empowering patients to take a more active role in their treatment.13,14


  1. Global burden of disease due to asthma. Available at: Accessed: September 2017
  2. Facts and figures. Available at: Accessed: September 2017
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Accessed: September 2017
  4. Jones PW et al. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2016; 11(Spec Iss): 13-20
  5. Sanduzzi et al. Multidiscip Respir Med. 2014; 9(1): 60
  6. Hansen, Transplant Proc 2007
  7. Smart inhalers and the Future of Respiratory Health Management. Available at: Accessed: September 2017
  8. Sulaiman I et al. AM J Respir Crit Care Med 2016
  9. Olszanecka-Glinianowicz M, Almgren-Rachtan A. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2014;31(4):235-246.
  10. Price D, et al. World Allergy Organ J. 2015;8(1):26
  11. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP). Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2007.
  12. Al-Jahdali H, et al. Allergy, Asthma Clin Immunol. 2013;9:8
  13. Elwyn G, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2012; 27(10): 1361-1367
  14. Van Boven JFM et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2016; 4: 835-846