Respiratory sufferers breathing easier

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Increased treatment using combination therapies

Sufferers of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic pulmonary disease (COPD), are breathing easier as a result of increased treatments using fixed dose inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta2-agonist (ICS/LABA) combination therapies. The appeal of these combinations is three-fold: improved patient compliance, simplified disease management, and the certainty of bronchodilator and steroid co-administration.

Previously, only two such combination inhalers were available; GSK's Advair/Seretide (fluticasone/salmeterol) and AstraZeneca's Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol). With sales reaching over $4.9 billion in 2005, Advair/Seretide dominates not only its field, but also the total asthma/COPD market. However, a report by Datamonitor, an independent market analyst company, states that Symbicort's recent US approval and Chiesi's recent European approval of an ICS/LABA combination drug, suggest a major change in the market dynamics.