Millions of inhalers to be kept out of landfill


Eco-friendly re-usable inhalers for Spiriva and Spiolto are PBS listed from today

Reusable Respimat inhalers for Australians with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been PBS listed from today (1 March).

The new-generation propellant-free inhaler for Spiriva and Spiolto can now be used with up to six cartridges, which means the number of inhalers a patient discards each year can go down from 12 to just two.

With more than 170,000 Australians treated with Spiriva or Spiolto Respimat, this change has the potential to save up to 1.7 million inhalers annually from entering landfill.

The company said the new inhaler also has enhanced features to make handling easier, including easier loading, better grip and a larger dose indicator than the Respimat disposable device.

Spiriva and Spiolto in the original Respimat inhaler will now be phased out.

“We developed the Respimat reusable inhaler as part of our commitment to help patients and provide environmental benefit,” said Boehringer Ingelheim ANZ Medical Director, Dr Marika Tetere.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to supporting healthcare professionals and their efforts to ensure a smooth transition of patients using the current Respimat inhaler to the reusable Respimat inhaler for Spiriva and Spiolto,” she said.

Lachlan Rose, Managing Pharmacist from Manly Vale Pharmacy in Sydney, said pharmacists have a critical role to play in communicating with patients about the transition to the reusable Respimat inhaler.

“The key is making sure that patients are aware of the improvements of the Respimat inhaler, feel confident to use it, and understand that the efficacy, safety and co-payment for the medicine remain unchanged,” he said.

Mr Rose noted that the Respimat inhaler has some positive new features in addition to being reusable.

“It is fitted with a larger dose indicator to alert patients when their medication is running low and the cartridge automatically discharges when it is empty,” he said.

To support a smooth transition to the reusable inhaler for patients, new packaging for Spiriva Respimat and Spiolto Respimat will also display a QR code that directs patients to simple online resources that demonstrate assembly and optimal use of the inhaler.

Spiriva Respimat is indicated for the long-term maintenance treatment of bronchospasm and dyspnoea associated with COPD; the prevention of COPD exacerbations; and as add-on maintenance bronchodilator treatment in patients aged 6 years and older with moderate to severe asthma.

Spiolto Respimat is indicated as a once-daily maintenance bronchodilator treatment to relieve symptoms in adult patients with COPD.

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1 Comment

  1. Debbie Rigby
    18/03/2021

    Good environmentally friendly step.

    I have been suggesting to RUM that they promote return of unwanted / expired / empty inhalers to pharmacies. There are over $9.4.million preventer inhalers dispensed every year – and most go into landfill.

    Much like the UK campaign https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/inhalers-0

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