Boehringer unleashes iPhone app amid COPD blitz

German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim has bolstered its efforts in the respiratory disease arena with a new mobile app that healthcare pros can tap during exams on patients with smoker's cough. Called COPDexchange, after chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the app enables physicians to use tools previously available on a U.K. website with the same name on their iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.

Make no mistake: Boehringer makes its fortune on drug sales, not mobile apps for doctors. The company originally launched the COPDexchange website with drug giant Pfizer ($PFE), which promotes the inhaled smoker's cough med Spiriva with Boehringer. And Boehringer aims to deliver an encore to Spiriva with a once-daily COPD therapy under FDA review called Striverdi Respimat. An FDA panel this week gave the drug its strong support.

It's not uncommon for pharma companies to pass out free apps to healthcare professionals. Novartis' ($NVS) CIBA Vision, for instance, offers mobile apps that provide educational tools for eye care pros. And there are a bevy of pharma-funded apps for patients, including GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) MyAsthma app to help patients manage their illness and Sanofi's ($SNY) GoMeals app that tracks activity and provides nutritional info for patients with diabetes.

The bottom line is that patients and physicians are spending more time on mobile devices than years ago, and pharma companies have figured out that these apps keep them engaged with their target audiences while offering some handy tools.

In the case of BI's new app, healthcare professionals registered on the COPDexchange website get mobile access to tools for calculating airflow obstruction, charts to illustrate the benefits of quitting smoking and others, according to PMLive.

- here's the PMLive article
- check out the Striverdi Respimat news from FierceBiotech

Special Report: 10 Big Pharma smartphone apps