Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

10th September 2011

Beximco launches Asthma medicines best-fit for country′s climate

Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., the largest manufacturer of pressurized metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) in Bangladesh, recently launched dry powder inhalers (DPIs) that are most suitable to the hot and humid climate of the country.

Drug formulations of DPIs are in the form of fine powders with high tendency to stick together, especially in places with climate similar to Bangladesh. This makes the particle size larger, which leads to the decline in quantity of drugs that enters the lungs and hampers drug delivery and therapeutic efficacy.

After working together closely with a team of respiratory physicians, the R&D and Marketing Team of Beximco developed the new DPI in unique patient-friendly and DPI-friendly packaging. The product’s alu-alu blister packaging and Hydroxyl Propyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) capsule shell ensure maximum protection of the powder in humid climate.

Beximco launched the DPI because the company felt that due to the global phase out of CFCs under the Montreal Protocol, the presence of existing pMDI therapy in alternative DPI formulation will enable company to continue its efforts in supplying the therapy solution to patients who have difficulty accepting the HFA-based formulations due to its different taste and smell. Unlike MDIs which need a propellant such as CFCs, DPIs need no chemical to deliver the medication and is therefore environment-friendly.

In addition, there has been a growing concern among physicians across the country that a good number of patients can not take their prescribed pMDI therapy despite repeated demonstration of "how to Use MDI" technique due to actuation breathing coordination problem. For this patient group, DPI has been considered a useful alternative by the physicians.

With the increasing urbanization and changes in lifestyle, increasing air pollution, significant burden of infectious diseases in childhood and easy access to antibiotic use in Bangladesh during childhood, asthma has become a serious problem in the country.

It is estimated that there are now about 16 million asthma and COPD patients in Bangladesh, but only 33% have access to respiratory inhalant therapy. This largely hinted that a significant pool of poor asthma and COPD patients cannot afford pMDI therapy due to its high "first time" cost to patients as perceived by them. As DPI can be supplied in unit dose packaging, poor patients now can get access to better treatment compared to high dose oral therapy. Like launching of its pMDIs in 1997, BPL came forward with the launch of its DPI preparations that are significantly better than available preparations.