Lungs

Struggling for breath

Claudette, 54, stops on the short walk between the bus stop and her nearby apartment. She needs to catch her breath. She is a grandmother of two, and suffers from COPD.

With COPD, it’s like living your life half-way. I wish people could go inside my life and feel what it is like.

Claudette, 54

Claudette is not alone. Respiratory disease affects a broad swath of people in the U.S.  

In 2011, approximately 14 million adults in the US reported having been diagnosed with COPD. Unfortunately, this represents only about one half of the patients that may have COPD, as many still remain undiagnosed. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US - more than breast cancer and diabetes combined. Additionally, more than 25 million Americans are affected by asthma, including seven million children. 

Despite improvements in the way respiratory disease is managed, it continues to pose a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. There remain considerable unmet needs which, if addressed, could lead to further benefits for patients. For over 40 years, people like Claudette have motivated us to work to address those unmet needs. To this day, they keep us committed to our mission.

Since the 1960s, we've made significant contributions to respiratory medicine. Over the last 40 years, our pioneering respiratory science in these areas has helped us develop eight different treatments for asthma and COPD. Landmark GSK studies have provided a wealth of evidence, improving respiratory disease understanding, and advancing patient management. These include studies like ECLIPSE, which was designed to advance understanding of the underlying mechanisms of COPD as well as help provide insights that might help predict disease progression.

GSK studies have helped shape international guidelines and set the standard for patient treatment goals. Alongside these studies, we are also helping patients and HCPs better understand, assess and manage their conditions through the development and/or distribution of tools such as the Asthma Control Test™*.

Our respiratory medicines include inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators. We also make prescription medicines for allergies and the flu, over-the-counter products to help people quit smoking, and vaccines that help prevent respiratory illnesses like whooping cough and influenza. 

Looking ahead, we are pursuing internal discovery as well as external partnerships, in order to better understand respiratory disease and investigate novel therapeutic targets. We have an extensive respiratory development portfolio with assets across a range of phases of drug discovery and development. We are committed to pursuing new treatment alternatives for the patients who need them.

In 2012, GSK provided around a third of all the medicines taken by patients with asthma and COPD worldwide. But it’s the individuals, patients like Claudette, that really drive us to investigate, research and fight respiratory disease to help people breathe better.   

*ASTHMA CONTROL TEST is a trademark of QualityMetric Incorporated.

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