Poor adherence to inhaled maintenance therapies is one of the main barriers in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). GlobalData’s primary research indicates that compliance and persistence to this type of therapy can fall as low as 35% and 45%, respectively, in patients presenting with milder forms of the disease.

The role of maintenance bronchodilator inhalers in the management of COPD is to halt disease progression and requires chronic adherence to achieve maximum results. One reason for non-adherence is physicians’ inability to measure patients’ adherence to inhalers. Express Scripts’ decision to offer smart inhalers to their members presents a significant opportunity to improve the management of COPD, allowing pulmonary pharmacists to track a patient’s adherence to inhaler therapy and potentially slow disease progression.

On 16 November, Express Scripts and Propeller Health announced their strategic partnership to provide Express Scripts members enrolled in the Pulmonary Care Value Program access to Propeller Health’s proprietary technology using inhaler sensors and a mobile app to manage asthma and COPD. Using the technology, a sensor will be attached to a patient’s inhaler and sent to the patient’s mobile app via bluetooth. Inhaler activity will then be reviewed by the Express Scripts Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center, notifying pulmonary pharmacists if a patient is overusing an inhaler or is non-adherent.  Once inappropriate use is identified, pharmacists can provide personalized counseling using patient-specific data, marking a major stride in the management of COPD.

In addition to individualised disease management, Propeller’s technology has the potential to significantly cut US medical costs. GlobalData’s epidemiology team approximates that over 33 million people suffered from COPD in 2016, contributing significantly to the tens of billions of dollars in medical costs accrued in the US each year. Given COPD is anticipated to be the third leading cause of death in the world by 2030, monitoring the use of inhalers marks a significant opportunity for COPD patients to effectively monitor their disease and minimize exacerbations, limiting the use of rescue medications and hospitalizations.

Related Reports

GlobalData (2016), PharmaPoint: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2025, May 2017, GDHC145PIDR