News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Boehringer Ingelheim reduces carbon footprint with launch of reusable inhaler

Health Industry Hub | March 1, 2021 |
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Pharma News: Boehringer Ingelheim has reinforced its commitment to increased sustainability within the healthcare sector, launching a more eco-friendly version of its propellant-free inhaler, Respimat.

Available on the PBS from 1 March, patients can access Spiriva and Spiolto in a reusable version of the Respimat inhaler which can now be used with up to six cartridges. This has the potential to reduce the number of inhalers that a patient discards each year from 12 to just 2, meaning that the more than 170,000 Australians treated with Spiriva Respimat or Spiolto Respimat need no longer dispose of up to 1.7 million inhalers annually.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s Respimat re-usable inhaler device was the winner of the 2020 Pharmapack Eco-Design Award which celebrates the latest innovations from packaging companies within the drugs, medical devices, health products and veterinary drugs sectors.

“We developed the Respimat reusable inhaler as part of our commitment to help patients and provide environmental benefit,” said Boehringer Ingelheim ANZ Medical Director, Dr Marika Tetere.

Not only has the Respimat reusable inhaler been designed to limit environmental impact, it also has enhanced features to make handling easier based on feedback from patients and healthcare professionals. These include easier loading, better grip and a larger dose indicator than the original Respimat inhaler.

Spiriva and Spiolto in the original Respimat inhaler will now be phased out.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to supporting healthcare professionals and their efforts to ensure a smooth transition of patients using the current Respimat inhaler to the reusable Respimat inhaler for Spiriva and Spiolto,” she said. Sydney-based Respiratory Physician, Associate Professor Lucy Morgan said the Respimat reusable inhaler was an “important step” towards reducing the use and disposal of plastics within respiratory medicine.

“Healthcare professionals will play an important role in supporting and educating patients treated with Spiriva Respimat and Spiolto Respimat as they transition to the reusable version of the inhaler.

“The inhaler has some positive new features in addition to being reusable. It is fitted with a larger dose indicator to alert patients when their medication is running low and the cartridge automatically discharges when it is empty,” she added.

To support quality use of medicine, the packaging for reusable Spiriva Respimat and Spiolto Respimat will display a QR code that directs patients to simple online resources that demonstrate assembly and optimal use of the inhaler.

Associate Professor Morgan said the on-pack QR code was another positive feature to support the efforts of prescribers and pharmacists to ensure patients have access to support materials and education around the reusable Respimat inhaler.

She highlighted that the introduction of Respimat reusable presents an “opportunity to engage patients on the importance of inhaler technique and compliance”.

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