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Rethinking Inhaled Product Development in the Digital World

Bonam M, Veighey M, Rignall A.

Respiratory Drug Delivery 2020. Volume 1, 2020: 217-224.


Developing inhaled products and linking them with digital technology provides patients and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) new opportunities to improve healthcare outcomes. The traditional inhaled medicine development process involves extensive device and formulation design, safety assessment, and subsequent clinical evaluation and product testing to demonstrate the required safety, efficacy and quality standards. Development and validation of appropriate instructions for use forms part of this development work.

Whilst inhaled products remain the primary treatment for respiratory disease, large numbers of patients do not use their inhaler as prescribed and demonstrate poor inhaler technique across all inhaler types. The potential for digital healthcare innovations to improve this situation is a very active field of research with the ultimate goal of beneficial and sustainable behavioral change to improve health outcomes. Traditionally developed inhalers can be extended and linked with digital services that capture and monitor usage, provide dosing reminders and motivational feedback to the patient, and enable better dialogue with the HCP. Further integration with other relevant data capture technologies to provide additional data and feedback can support more effective healthcare pathways, more informed dialogue between the patient and healthcare professional, and better health related decision making processes. Deployment of additional sensors (as part of the inhaler where possible), widespread connectivity across multiple media platforms, and advanced data analytics have the potential to facilitate a dynamic and responsive service that meets the specific needs of individual patients and helps to redefine future inhaled products.

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