AstraZeneca, Adherium to create smart inhaler adherence program for patients

By Aditi Pai
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AdheriumAstraZenecaAstraZeneca has partnered with New Zealand-based Adherium Limited, which offers a mobile-enabled inhaler, to incorporate digital health offerings into AstraZeneca’s patient support programs for people with COPD and asthma.

Adherium's Smartinhaler sends data on when medication was taken to mobile devices and desktop computers via Bluetooth. The platform is designed to help patients, caregivers, and physicians remotely monitor and manage patients’ adherence to their medication.

The program that AstraZeneca has created for patients with COPD and asthma will use smart inhalers to monitor patients’ adherence and then provide patients with personalized advice based on their condition and medication use. In the future, the company said the program will also likely incorporate additional sensors designed to monitor a patient's condition and potentially assess a patient's personalized risk factors. 

Fewer than 50 percent of asthma patients adhere to their prescribed preventative medications, according to Adherium, but the company also said that in clinical trails, the smart inhaler increased adherence by up to 59 percent in adults and 180 percent in children with asthma.

A few weeks ago, AstraZeneca partnered with mobile-enabled health coaching services company Vida to launch an app, called Day-by-Day, that helps patients who are recovering from a heart attack. The app is not only designed to speed up the patient’s recovery, but it also helps patients deal with trauma that they may feel after experiencing a heart attack.

Interestingly, Day-by-Day is not branded and will be available for any user, even if they are taking another company’s drugs. AstraZeneca will be taking on the costs of the program for users, but the company told Fortune it will use data collected from the app to learn how patients are using their medications during the recovery stage. Vida told TechCrunch that AstraZeneca approached it to partner on the app.

Only a few days prior, Novartis said that its new heart failure drug, Entresto, might be among the first to be sold with remote monitoring tools as an add-on service, to help convince insurers to spring for the more costly drug. The monitoring tools could even allow insurers to get a partial refund if the drug doesn’t effect outcomes, essentially setting up a pay-for-performance arrangement for Novartis.