Physician and Payer Perspectives as Smoking and Pollution Perils Point to Sharply Increasing COPD Incidence
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become a leading case of mortality and morbidity in China, especially in the northern and eastern region of the country where air pollution is prevalent and coal burning is common during the cold winter. These factors are exacerbated by an ever-increasing smoking population. The issue of poor air quality in China raised national concern with the recent release of a documentary on air pollution, called “Under the Dome,” which received over 100 million views online. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of novel COPD therapies in the past decade in China. The treatment options for COPD patients remain similar to those available ten years ago, dominated by long-acting beta2 agonist/inhaled corticosteroid fixed-dose combinations (LABA/ICS FDCs). Many drugs available in mature pharmaceutical markets, such as the once-daily LABA/ICS FDC Relvar (GlaxoSmithKline) and long-acting beta2 agonist/long-acting muscarinic antagonist combinations (LABA/LAMA FDCs), are not yet available in China. The resulting high demand for new and improved COPD medicines in China presents great opportunity for multinational pharmaceutical companies that plan on expanding their presence in this space in the Chinese market.