These are exciting times for the inhalation sector as the industry works to address the challenges of improving patient adherence while meeting the demand for sustainable medical devices.

These issues have been the major focus of many of the exhibitions, seminars and conferences held across the globe that healthcare professionals have attended over the past 12 months.

Berry’s world leading position in inhaler technology has been underlined by the company’s participation in no fewer than 11 of these events globally. As well as the opportunity to showcase its latest developments, Berry experts also took part in presentations and panel discussions that examined some of the key issues currently affecting inhalation applications.

One of the main topics covered has been the need to tackle and improve treatment adherence for patients suffering respiratory diseases. It is notable that despite the many advances in inhaler technology since the first devices were introduced in 1956, the number of inhaler errors caused by inadequate inherence and technique has hardly changed at all.  Recent studies have identified that up to 94% of patients still make critical mistakes using their inhalers1, while adherence to asthma and COPD treatments can be as low as 32%, meaning two out of three people are taking their medicine incorrectly.2

Berry gave a number of talks on this issue, highlighting the problems that still need to be overcome in patient adherence, and presenting the adherence promoting features now being introduced into device design as a result.

One of the major innovations in improving inhalation techniques among patients is the introduction of digitalisation to facilitate usability and adherence. The new inhalers incorporate built-in sensors with digital capabilities that allow them to track inhaler use. This information is shared with a companion app which then provides personalised guidance to each patient. The use of the app reminds patients when to take a dose and provides tips to help them self-medicate more effectively. Patients can also share their data with healthcare providers, either remotely or in person, to enable data-driven treatment adjustments.

Berry has taken a leading role in this area with the launch of its RS01-X single dose DPI.

Alongside these important technical developments, another major theme of Berry’s participation at these events was to discuss how medical device manufacturers can deliver such enhanced capabilities while at the same time minimising the environmental impact of both the devices and the drugs that they deliver.

Areas highlighted during presentations and discussions including ongoing lightweighting initiatives, improved recyclability through the development of more mono-layer solutions in PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene), and the introduction for pharmaceutical and healthcare applications of ISCC+ certified packaging and plastic components that contribute to a circular economy approach.

Berry’s new RS01-R capsule-based DPI, for example, incorporates advanced chemical recycled resins or bio-source resins produced using the mass balance concept, and is ISCC+ certified.

More accurate dosing of medicines can also help to reduce unnecessary product waste, which also has a negative environmental impact, with pharmaceuticals found both in surface waters of rivers and lakes and in groundwater, soil and manure. Such active pharmaceutical ingredients from human medicines can either enter the environment through human excretions if products have been inaccurately dosed, or from unused medicines being thrown down the toilet or sink.

This is where effective design of a pump or dosing system is critical, both ensuring that the exact required amount is dispensed each time, even for more difficult to handle medicines, and making the process of administering the dose easy and comfortable for the patient.

An example from the Berry stable is the new RS01 Size 2 capsule-based inhaler, which meets the increased demand for higher dose devices for the pulmonary delivery of systemic treatments and highly engineered low powder formulations, while still ensuring reliable and accurate dosing.

Berry will maintain its busy schedule of events in 2023. Already on the calendar are the company’s participation at Pharmpack (Stand A 60) at the Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles on 1st and 2nd February; and the Maghreb Pharma Expo (Stand C21), the largest pharmaceutical trade show in Africa, held at the CIC Algiers from February 7th to 9th.

Learn more about Berry’s extensive inhaler portfolio.

2.  National Library of Medicines, Patient characteristics associated with medication adherence, Rolnick SJ, Pawloski     PA, Hedblom BD, Asche SE, Bruzek RJ