RDD Europe review
Published on: 26th May 2017
The program featured a mix of lecture presentations, poster presentations and interactive workshops. The background of the delegates and the subjects covered in the program were wide ranging, with academia well represented alongside industry, giving a good balance to the conference.
From a device development point of view, there was a clear focus on connectivity. Around 60% of the workshops and 30% of the paper presentations that were related to device development focussed on the challenges and opportunities of connectivity and many of those presentations that were not focussed on connectivity looked at characterising existing technology rather than presenting new developments outside the connected space.
This focus on connectivity is not surprising. The seriousness of the conditions that these devices treat provides the motivation to search for solutions to the compliance challenges that this area of drug delivery continues to face and has been unable to fully address so far.
Some really interesting and compelling figures were quoted in some of the presentations and workshops:
- Worldwide, COPD is predicted to become the 3rd biggest killer by 2030 and the lives of 235million people are currently affected by Asthma 
- An $80/month per patient incentive is available in the US for doctors who can demonstrate that they are remotely monitoring compliance to a treatment regime 
- In a study monitoring compliance of COPD patients with their treatment, only 7% of patients were found to use their dry powder inhaler correctly more than 80% of the time 
But despite the interesting connectivity concepts and prototypes shared, and some news of regulatory approvals, no product was presented that has reached real users in a commercial application. Like in other drug delivery areas, the industry is still ‘finding its feet’ in the connected space but companies are increasing their focus and vigour to reap the potential benefits and not be left behind.
1. World Health Organisation, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs307/en/
2. H&T Presspart & Cohero Health, 'Smart Inhalers of the Future', Interactive workshop, RDD 2017
3. Respiratory Acoustics: An Objective Assessment of Inhaler Use in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Richard W. Costello and Richard B. Reilly