Updated on 27 October 2016
Prof. Norbert Berend, Head of Respiratory Research, The George Institute for Global Health
GlaxoSmithKline and biopharmaceutical company, Innoviva, have concluded Salford Lung Study (SLS), a Phase IIIb multi-centre, open label randomised controlled trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of GSK's drug, Relvar Ellipta, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), compared with their usual care administered in an everyday clinical practice setting.
Prof. Norbert Berend, Head of Respiratory Research, The George Institute for Global Health and former President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, has a strong research background in asthma and COPD. In an interview with BioSpectrum, he shares his views on the prevalence of COPD in Asia and the effective ways to control and manage the disease.
Asia is still lacking in COPD management. There is little awareness among patients to effectively manage the disease or even consult specialists. How do you think the burden of COPD can be handled in Asia?
Despite many risk factors like high smoking rates, exposure to biomass smoke and air pollution, the prevalence of COPD in Asia is similar to Western countries. However, the effectiveness of policies to reduce these risks is in question. What is required is a greater effort for primary prevention and then allocation of appropriate resources to treat the condition with both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. The latter include vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal infections and pulmonary rehabilitation which is virtually non-existent in many countries. Given the substantial socio-economic burden of the disease, it is also important for healthcare providers to make advanced treatment options widely available and accessible for patients in both private and public health-care systems.
According to a study done in 2010 by the Canadian Lung Association along with medical experts from Canadian Thoracic Society, titled "Awareness of risk factors among persons at risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep apnea: A Canadian population-based study", the awareness level of COPD in western countries is as low as 17 percent and far worse in Asia. What role can pharmaceutical companies play to increase the awareness of the disease?