197 Drugs for COPD and Asthma are in Development to Meet the Challenges of Chronic Respiratory Diseases


RDPAC releases Faces of Innovation: Meeting the Challenge of Chronic Respiratory Diseases report

In February 2017, the State Council issued the China Medium and Long-term Plan for Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases (2017-2025), which proposed that by 2025, the risk factors of chronic diseases will be effectively controlled, and the whole life cycle health management of the population will be realized, with the aim of reducing the premature mortality rate caused by chronic diseases, including chronic respiratory diseases, by 20% compared with 2015. The plan also formulates strategies and measures to strengthen health education, implement early diagnosis and treatment, strengthen standardized diagnosis and treatment, improve medical insurance policies, coordinate social resources, and promote R&D innovation.

Chronic respiratory diseases have become the third leading cause of death in China, with a mortality rate of 68/100,000

Chronic respiratory diseases, mainly represented by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, are one of the world's four major non-contagious diseases, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, accounting for about 71% of the total global deaths. Due to the aging of population, smoking and second-hand smoke, air pollution, the use of biofuels, and the large differences in drug accessibility in different regions, the management status of chronic respiratory disease in China is very challenging. At present, the mortality rate of chronic respiratory diseases in China is 68/100,000, making it the third leading cause of death of major chronic disease in China.


Prof. Rongchang Chen, Head of Shenzhen Respiratory Disease Research Institution

The number of COPD patients in China is about 100 million patients, while the number of asthma patients in China is about 30 million. The prevalence of COPD and asthma increases significantly with age, which not only brings heavy economic burden to patients, their families and society, but also becomes a major public health problem. “A major problem that causes the burden of disease is the low level of knowledge about chronic respiratory diseases, poor compliance with medication, and non-standard treatment status of patients in China, ” said Prof. Rongchang Chen, Head of Shenzhen Respiratory Disease Research Institution. “At present, the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in China is heavy, and the acute exacerbation of patients is frequent. It is precisely because of the lack of attention given to stable treatment and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is necessary for the public, doctors, and patients to improve their understanding of such diseases to solve the current problems. National policy is also promoting the screening and early diagnosis of COPD. Issued by the State Council, the “13th Five-Year Plan for Health and Wellness” proposes the integration of lung function testing into routine physical examination as one of the main tasks for the implementation of comprehensive prevention and control of chronic diseases.” 

197 Drug Innovations for COPD and Asthma in Development to Meet the Challenge of Diseases


Dirk van NIEKERK, Head of Human Pharma Greater China Region of Boehringer Ingelheim, Vice-Chairman of RDPAC

“Chronic respiratory disease has become one of the most important public health problems in the world. All countries face enormous challenges and economic burdens. But with the rapid development of science in the past decade, more and more innovative treatments for chronic respiratory diseases has emerged gradually.” Dirk van NIEKERK, Head of Human Pharma Greater China Region of Boehringer Ingelheim, Vice-Chairman of RDPAC said, “RDPAC will work hard to unite member companies to create a new model for chronic respiratory disease management and actively work with governments, civil society organizations, companies and individuals to promote the development of innovative treatment programs, while actively improving patient accessibility and accelerating the goal of achieving prevention and treatment of respiratory disease in China. ”


Fabio Landazabal, SVP of GSK Emerging Markets

“Chronic respiratory disease has become a national burden. Medical community is struggling to find a proper treatment. Patients continue suffering.” said Fabio Landazabal, SVP of GSK Emerging Markets, “We're glad to see it has been identified as a key disease of focus under the China government’s Thirteenth of Five program. Pharmaceutical industry will continue to invest and develop innovative medicines in China to benefit Chinese patients.” According to the report, there are 197 drugs under development worldwide for COPD and asthma. 


Dr. Zhi Li, Head of Medical Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim China

“The prevention and treatment of chronic respiratory disease needs to provide the best quality medicines and the most complete disease solutions for Chinese patients. To enhance patients’ compliance, the current trend of chronic respiratory diseases is based on long-term and convenient. The brand-new innovative drug allows the patient to use it once a day, and it can remain effective throughout the day. This innovative drug is a good solution to the problems of today's patients," said Dr. Zhi Li, Head of Medical Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim China. "In the future, improving the accessibility of effective treatment to patients, the awareness and ability of prevention and treatment of primary doctors, the promotion of primary lung function tests, the importance of early prevention, and extensive publicity and education work will all improve patients' lives and work. ” 

Improving the accessibility of innovative drugs and Advocating Innovative Management Model of Chronic Respiratory Disease 

“Between 2011 and 2018, 14 innovative drugs for COPD and asthma were approved worldwide, five of which were approved in China,”said Managing Director of The R&D Based Pharmaceutical Association Committee of the China Association of Enterprises, Kang Wei. “In recent years, China's Pharmaceutical Regulatory Bureau has issued a series of new policies to optimize the approval process, encourage new drug research and development, speed up the market of urgently needed drugs in clinic, and make great progress in drug innovation and medical and health undertakings. However, in the context of the growing demand for high-quality medical care, Chinese patients still face many challenges, such as limited access to innovative drugs and high self-payment costs. The report shows that COPD patients spent more than a quarter of the monthly income on drugs; the average hospitalization cost of asthma patients is about 11,051 CNY. This year, the National Medical Insurance Bureau will complete the adjustment of the medical insurance drug catalogue in 2019. More innovative drugs are expected to be included in the medical insurance list, further reducing the financial burden of patients and families.” 

Additionally, to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment, RDPAC member companies are actively establishing an innovative management model for chronic respiratory disease. Starting from the needs of patients' whole course, RDPAC member companies combine innovative drugs with digital treatment schemes, land innovative Internet of Things solutions, and provide an overall management scheme for patients, from the aspects of education, screening, treatment, follow-up and rehabilitation. More convenient and accurate disease management can help more patients with chronic respiratory diseases benefit from innovative drugs, thus allowing them to better control their disease and enjoy life.

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