Boehringer Ingelheim Builds on 100 Years of Expertise To Continue Raising Awareness of Respiratory Diseases

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  • 40 million people across MENA live with respiratory diseases, while 60 million people are at risk of developing them.[i]
  • Patients with chronic lung diseases are more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19 [ii]
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis (‘PF’) is a progressive respiratory disease which causes scarring of the lungs; this can be slowed down by receiving timely treatment through early detection[iii]

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 28, 2021: Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, is marking Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month this September by working towards strengthening awareness of chronic respiratory diseases among the public and healthcare community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Through educational campaigns, the company aims to promote preventative measures and early diagnosis of lung diseases, especially considering that they place individuals suffering from them at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. 

According to estimates, 40 million people suffer from a range of respiratory diseases in the Middle East, while 60 million are at risk of developing them. [iv]  Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a rare, debilitating, and lifelong disease in which the lungs become scarred and thickened, making it increasingly difficult for patients to breathe[v],[vi],[vii]. PF occurs in many types of interstitial lung diseases (ILD), which affect the interstitium, a lace-like network of tissue that supports the air sacs in the lungs. The symptoms vary among individuals, but in some patients, it can lead to shortness of breath and the organs not receiving enough oxygen to function properly[viii],[ix]. Furthermore, PF may put patients at a higher risk of developing severe complications due to COVID-19[x].

Mohammed Al-Tawil, Regional Managing Director and Head of Human Pharma at Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East, Turkey and Africa said, “Building on our strong heritage in respiratory diseases, we are committed to driving research and development to improve our understanding of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and deliver the best treatments options. Our focus is on improving the quality of life for those living with debilitating respiratory diseases such as PF and empowering them with the right knowledge to recognize its symptoms and seek medical advice. Our growing portfolio of treatments in this area is a testament to our vision to improve the quality of life of patients.”

Mohamed Meshref, Regional Medical Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East, Turkey and Africa added, “We began our journey in the respiratory disease area by developing treatments for asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (‘COPD’). Over the past 100 years, we have strengthened our therapeutic expertise to address debilitating rare diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis. Diagnosing pulmonary fibrosis is often difficult because several of its symptoms, such as breathlessness, cough and fatigue, are similar to other more common diseases like COPD. Our objective is to share our expertise and insights about pulmonary fibrosis with the medical community and help healthcare professionals better understand the disease and the most recent practices of its diagnosis and management.” 

Patients with PF, even in severe cases, can be asymptomatic making it even more important to be aware of subtle signs and symptoms, such as deconditioning, fatigue, reduced exercise capacity, changes in lifestyle and activity levels.

Diagnosis of PF requires multi-disciplinary interstitial lung diseases centers to ensure patients receive care and treatment to manage the progression of the illness and improve their quality of life. In addition to developing innovative solutions to address the condition, Boehringer Ingelheim collaborates with specialists across 53 Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) centers in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region to facilitate best-practice sharing across countries and enhance healthcare services and treatment options for patients. 

Boehringer Ingelheim continues to collaborate with healthcare professionals to discuss the latest medical solutions for rare lung diseases across key markets in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. To further drive conversations around rare diseases, the company has launched an educational website in English and Arabic, that serves as a guide to learn more about PF, including reliable resources for patients and their families. 

For more information on respiratory diseases, visit: 

https://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/respiratory/respiratory-overview.

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About Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim is working on breakthrough therapies that improve the lives of humans and animals. As a leading research-driven biopharmaceutical company, the company creates value through innovation in areas of high unmet medical need. Founded in 1885 and family-owned ever since, Boehringer Ingelheim takes a long-term perspective. Around 52,000 employees serve more than 130 markets in the three business areas, Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. Learn more at www.boehringer-ingelheim.com.


[i] mea.boehringer-ingelheim.com. 2016. 60 million people in the Middle East are at risk of developing of respiratory illness. [online] Available at: <https://www.mea.boehringer-ingelheim.com/press-release/60-million-people-middle-east-are-risk-developing-respiratory-illness> [Accessed 23 August 2021].

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. COVID-19 and Your Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html> [Accessed 30 August 2021].

[iii]Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Pulmonary Fibrosis: What is It, Causes, Symptoms, Testing & Treatment. [online] Available at: <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10959-pulmonary-fibrosis> [Accessed 21 September 2021].

[iv] mea.boehringer-ingelheim.com. 2016. 60 million people in the Middle East are at risk of developing of respiratory illness. [online] Available at: <https://www.mea.boehringer-ingelheim.com/press-release/60-million-people-middle-east-are-risk-developing-respiratory-illness%3e> [Accessed 23 August 2021].

[v] Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Pulmonary Fibrosis: What is It, Causes, Symptoms, Testing & Treatment. [online] Available at: <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10959-pulmonary-fibrosis> [Accessed 23 August 2021].

[vi] British Lung Foundation. 2021. What is pulmonary fibrosis? – British Lung Foundation. [online] Available at: <https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/pulmonary-fibrosis/what-is-pulmonary-fibrosis> [Accessed 1 September 2021].

[vii] Martinez FJ, Collard HR, Pardo A, et al. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17074.

[viii] Martinez FJ, Collard HR, Pardo A, et al. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017;3:17074.

[ix] Wynn TA. Integrating mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis. J Exp Med. 2011;208(7):1339-1350.

[x] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. COVID-19 and Your Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html> [Accessed 30 August 2021].

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