Home >companies >news >Asthma Day: Cipla likely to launch asthma inhaler in India this fiscal year

Mumbai: Pharmaceutical major Cipla Ltd, which has a large portfolio of respiratory products, is likely to launch its new asthma inhaler, Synchrobreathe, in India during the current financial year, chief medical officer Jaideep Gogtay said.

“More than new drugs (in respiratory segment), what we are working on is new delivery systems. We have launched this new inhaler in Africa and we should launch it soon in India. We are just working on it, we are hoping that it will be here this year," Gogtay told Mint.

The company had launched this breath-actuated inhaler in South Africa in January. Synchrobreathe automatically delivers a dose of medicine as a mist when the patient inhales. It is simple to use, eliminates coordination challenges and because it has a built-in dose counter that allows patients to track doses, it helps improve patient compliance.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. India accounts for around 10% of the global asthma disease burden. It is a common disease among children.

Cipla is also working on new bronchodilators, particularly for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and some drugs which can be given once daily instead of two times, Gogtay said.

He said these products have a slightly better profile than the current drugs available and though they are not breakthrough products, they certainly have improvements over existing drugs that provide incremental value to patients.

Cipla currently has a portfolio of 28 drug formulations across a range of devices for respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, allergic rhinitis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, lung cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

According to the company’s annual report for 2015-16, the respiratory unit had sales of around $400 million, accounting for about 25% of the total revenue.

While there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled with proper medication. The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways.

Gogtay emphasised on the need to create awareness about managing asthma and changing the mindset about use of inhalers.

“Nearly 70% of people in India use tablets or syrups for asthma and not inhalers which are considered the best option for managing the disease. In the most regulated or developed markets mostly everybody is on inhalers," he said.

Diagnosis of asthma is not very difficult but diagnostic tools need to be made available in semi-urban and rural regions, Gogtay said, adding that the challenge is patient compliance and misconceptions regarding use of inhalers.

He added that cost is not a major concern as a good inhaler therapy costs less than Rs10 per day in India.

India has access to most drugs available globally, which are effective and safe and patients can live life that is almost as good as normal, he said.

“People in India pay attention to what they drink and what they eat but tend to ignore what we breathe. Rising air pollution is a major cause of concern and we need to focus on it," Gogtay said.

Cipla has a public service initiative called Breathefree to help people keep asthma under control. Under this initiative, it launched a #saveyourlungs movement in Delhi earlier this year.

The movement aims to encourage people to use the “breathefree" helpline for free lung check-up and interact with experts to understand their respiratory problems and treatment.

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