Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) are often used in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) therapies. Using the discrete choice experiment (DCE) methodology, this study conducted in France was designed to assess patients’ preferences for different attributes of DPIs.
Attributes of DPIs were defined based on a literature review, patient focus group discussions and interviews with healthcare professionals (qualitative phase of the study). An online survey was then conducted among French patients with asthma or COPD to elicit patient preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for these attributes using the DCE methodology (quantitative phase). A fractional factorial design including three blocks of 12 choice sets was created. Each choice set comprised three alternatives: two fictitious inhalers and the patient’s current inhaler. Marginal utilities were estimated using a ranked ordered logit model. Interactions between attributes and disease (asthma or COPD) were tested.
Six DPI attributes were defined based on the qualitative phase: ease of use/fool-proof priming; accurate and easy-to-read dose counter; dose confirmation; hygiene of the mouthpiece; flexibility of the device handling; ability to use the inhaler with breathing difficulties. Overall, 201 patients with asthma and 93 with COPD were included in the online survey. Patients with asthma placed most value on an inhaler that requires one step for dose preparation (WTP €4.83 [95% CI: €3.77–€5.90], relative to an inhaler requiring four steps) and one that could be used during episodes of breathing difficulties (WTP €4.49 [95% CI: €2.95–€6.02]). Patients with COPD placed most value on an inhaler that could be used during episodes of breathing difficulties (WTP €7.70 [95% CI: €5.65–€9.76]) and on the accuracy of the dose counter (WTP €5.87 [95% CI: €3.98–€ 7.77]).
This study suggests that asthma and COPD patients would be willing to change their inhaler if they were offered the option of a new inhaler with improved characteristics and they place a high value on an inhaler with ease of use during breathing difficulty episodes.