3M celebrates 60 years of inhalation firsts

Devices to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been around for centuries

While those early devices laid the groundwork for the modern inhalers, it wasn’t until Susie Maison, an asthma sufferer, asked her father, George, why she wasn’t able to get an asthma spray in a can like her mother’s hairspray, that the modern inhaler was born.

George took that problem to the scientists at Riker Laboratories, which later became 3M. The solution arrived in 1956, with the invention of the first pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI), which stores asthma medication in a pressurised canister and allows for easy inspiration into the lungs with the push of a button.

Since then, the pMDI has seen significant upgrades to improve the lives of those affected with respiratory disease, with 3M being at the forefront of these advancements.

The impressive list of innovative inhalation firsts for 3M during the past 60 years, include

  • the first breath actuated inhaler in 1989
  • the first CFC-free metered dose inhaler in 1995
  • the first single-cycle FDA review of a metered dose inhaler in 2008
  • the first integrated dose counter available to pharmaceutical companies for use on their products in 2010
  • the first HFA nasal MDI in 2012
  • the first therapeutically equivalent alternative in the UK to combination asthma therapy Seretide Evohaler in 2015
  • the 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler, the first fully integrated, breath-actuated inhaler that visually instructs patients how to use it correctly and collects data on use, in April 2016.

'During the past 60 years, we’ve made great strides since pioneering the first ever metered dose inhaler in 1956, including the introduction of the 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler this year on our 60th anniversary,' said Louise Righton, Global Marketing Operations Manager, 3M Drug Delivery Systems.

'An estimated 334 million people suffer from asthma and COPD worldwide, a number that is expected to rise along with cases of difficulty using devices, and inconsistent adherence to medicine protocols,' she added.

'The 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler addresses the key issues of simplicity of use and adherence by engaging patients in self-care and capturing data on inhaler use which can be reviewed by a physician or caregiver. 3M is uniquely qualified to bring this new solution into a connected world to improve patient outcomes,' Louise concluded.

Featured Companies

3M Group (more information, website)