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Drugs in the pipeline for COPD

Anticipated near-term approvals could bring new relief for plan members


From the Editors


Pipeline Drugs to Watch

Notable Upcoming Launches | Q2 2024

Download the report (PDF)


COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a leading cause of death in United States. The condition is caused by damage to the airways or lungs that blocks airflow and makes it difficult to breathe; the most common cause is smoking.  COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it is likely to worsen over time. The COPD diagnosis is  broad, and also includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

COPD affects 6 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 16 million adults. More than half of adults with COPD are women. 1, 2

Treatment landscape

The global market for asthma and COPD drugs is growing at an annual rate of more than 5 percent, according to some estimates, and could reach $61.54 billion by 2032.3

Drug therapy for COPD depends on disease severity and ranges from short- and long-acting bronchodilators to inhaled steroids. Some patients may benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, surgery, or lung transplant.1

Current therapies include drugs in several classes:

  • Beta2-agonists
  • Anticholinergics
  • Methylxanthines
  • Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors
  • Mucolytic agents
  • Combination therapies

The COPD pipeline

Several promising drugs are in the near-term pipeline for COPD, including:

Dupixent (dupilumab, Regeron Pharmaceuticals/Sanofi) – Treatment of moderate-to-severe COPD with type 2 inflammation (expanded indication)

Ensifentrine (Verona Pharma) – Novel nebulized agent seeking approval for the maintenance treatment of COPD in combination with standard therapies

Nucala (mepolizumab, GlaxoSmithKline) – Adjunctive treatment of severe COPD in patients with an eosinophilic phenotype




This document contains references to brand-name prescription drugs that are trademarks or registered trademarks of pharmaceutical manufacturers not affiliated with CVS Health.