Plans to develop new environmentally-friendly inhalers to treat conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been announced.
International research-focused healthcare group Chiesi is investing €350 million (£295m) to bring the new formulations to market by 2025, expected to reduce the carbon footprint of pressurised metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) by 90%.
It has secured a commercial agreement for the supply of HFA 152a (1,1-difluoroethane) – a sustainable medical propellant – with manufacturer Koura.
Chiesi claims this propellant will decrease the carbon footprint of a pMDI to a similar level as a dry powder inhaler (DPI).
The news comes after research published last month found some of the inhalers are bad for the environment and switching to alternative, “greener” ones could result in large carbon savings.
Ugo Di Francesco, Chiesi Group CEO, said: “We believe protecting patient health and the environment should not be a matter of compromise. We are proud to supply both pMDI and DPI inhalers and to have taken decisive and ambitious action to ensure patients can continue to access the inhaler options that best suit their needs, whilst innovating to find the most environmentally conscious solution available.
“Switching treatments for non-clinical reasons has the potential to have a negative impact on patients’ health, as well as placing an added strain on resources. Patients should not have to shoulder the burden of environmental responsibility when considering treatment options that affect their health. In the face of a global climate crisis, we must all share the burden of action. I can only encourage other industry players to join us.”