Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the company that introduced the revolutionary Multi Dose Dry Powder Inhaler (MDPI) that came to be known worldwide as the ‘Diskus,’ has celebrated the production of the one billionth such delivery device.
Widely used to treat COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma, the disk-shaped breath-activated metered-dose dispenser or ‘Accuhalor’ as it is also called, delivers medication in dry powder form more precisely and effectively than standard aerosol inhalers. The device has won several international awards including the Queen’s Award in the UK for its revolutionary design.
“The milestone of distributing a billion Diskus devices to help people with respiratory diseases breathe easier, comes even as statistics indicate that COPD will become the third major cause of death worldwide by 2020,” said Stuart Chapman, Managing Director of GSK Pharmaceuticals in Sri Lanka. “COPD is often misdiagnosed as asthma or diagnosed in late stages. There is clearly a lot more to be done to improve management and treatment of the disease.”
Unlike with some aerosol inhalers, a user of the Diskus does not need to hold the inhaler to his or her mouth and push down on a canister and inhale simultaneously to administer the proper dose. To dispense medication, the patient actuates a lever. This causes the lidding material to be peeled away from the base material of a blister strip, exposing the powder-filled blister within the Diskus device. The product is then inhaled by the patient through a manifold and a mouth piece.
The Diskus also incorporates a dose counter that counts down to zero to let the user know how many doses remain in the pack.
World-wide, events to improve awareness on the diagnosis and management of COPD take place annually on 17 November, designated World COPD Day. The theme for this year is ‘2010 – The Year of the Lung: Measure your Lung Health - Ask your doctor about a simple breathing test called spirometry’.
To assist medical professionals and COPD patients, GSK has also introduced a patient-completed questionnaire called the COPD Assessment Test or CAT. Comprising eight questions that cover a broad range of effects of COPD on patients’ health and a simple scoring methodology that facilitates a quick assessment of the disease’s impact on an individual patient’s lifestyle, the CAT enables both doctor and patient to monitor the progress made in the management of the disease.
Rated Sri Lanka’s most respected pharmaceuticals company by LMD in 2010, GSK and its predecessors have been doing business in Sri Lanka since the late 1930s.
A world leading pharmaceuticals and vaccines company, GSK is the only pharmaceuticals company to tackle the three “priority” diseases identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO): HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
GSK distributes 35 doses of vaccines every second; 1,100 prescriptions are written for GSK products every minute; every hour, the company spends ₤300,000 on the discovery of new medicines; and every day, more than 200 million people use a GSK brand.