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Low-carbon salbutamol inhaler a step closer as phase three trials announced

A low-carbon salbutamol metered-dose inhaler (MDI) that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from use of the inhaler by around 90% is to advance to phase 3 trials in the first half of 2024.

If successful, the phase 3 trials will support regulatory submissions in 2025, its manufacturer GSK has said.

The low-carbon salbutamol inhaler uses a next-generation propellant technology, which has been under technical development for several years and has been tested extensively to ensure suitability for MDIs and patient use.

As approximately 35 million people with respiratory conditions use salbutamol inhalers worldwide, it accounts for 49% of GSK’s carbon footprint and significantly contributes to the carbon footprint of global health systems.

Indeed in the UK, inhaler emissions account for approximately 3% of the NHS carbon footprint.

GSK chief executive officer, Emma Walmsley, said: ‘As countries work to decarbonise their health systems, companies have an important role to play – and addressing the carbon emissions from inhalers is a key part of this.

‘Harnessing our deep respiratory expertise, we have developed an innovative low-carbon inhaler and I am delighted that we are now progressing this programme into Phase 3 trials.

‘If successful this could lead to regulatory submissions in 2025, supporting the health of asthma and COPD patients and making a significant positive impact on our transition to a more environmentally sustainable future.’

The development of the low-carbon salbutamol inhaler has required clinical and non-clinical programmes, as well as the establishment of a new manufacturing facility.

GSK has confirmed investment in its Evreux site in France to manufacture the inhaler, ‘so that we are ready to start supply quickly, should clinical trials and regulatory processes be successful’.

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