Press Release

More Than 70 Medicines in Development for Asthma

PhRMA April 25, 2013

Washington, D.C. (March 5, 2012) — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 74 medicines to treat or prevent asthma, according to a report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). All of the medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Asthma is a lifelong disease that can limit a person’s quality of life and even lead to death, if not treated properly,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “The good news is that potential treatments highlighted in this report offer asthma sufferers new hope of living a healthier, more productive lives.”

Asthma is a narrowing of the airways to the lungs caused by inflammation in the air passages, resulting from both genetic and environmental influences. Today, more than 24 million American adults and children suffer from asthma, with the prevalence increasing 12 percent in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each day, 40,000 Americans miss school or work due to asthma, costing the U.S. economy an estimated $56 billion each year in direct and indirect costs.

“As spring nears, asthma patients’ health often worsens due to many different environmental factors. Medicines can help alleviate the symptoms associated with asthma and can provide sufferers much-needed relief throughout the season,” said Castellani.

America’s biopharmaceutical researchers are studying several new, exciting ways to tackle asthma. Examples include:

  • A monoclonal antibody that inhibits eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) from accumulating in the lungs.
  • A new inhalation therapy that harnesses the body’s natural defenses in the airway against asthma.
  • A medicine that blocks the pro-inflammatory effect of prostaglandin in allergic asthma.

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are devoted to the discovery and development of medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. In fact, biopharmaceutical companies invested more than ten times the amount of R&D per employee than manufacturing industries. This commitment to R&D helps to save and improve lives of patients around the world, promote American jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy.


The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.4 billion in 2010 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $67.4 billion in 2010. 

Find PhRMA Online:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org

For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit http://www.rxresponse.org