Who Manufactures Spiriva? Is there a Cheaper Option?


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Table of Contents


I. Understanding Chronic Lung Disease

II. About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

III. Successful Drugs

IV. Is There a Generic Version of Spiriva?


Understanding Chronic Lung Disease

Over 37 million Americans live with chronic lung disease. These diseases can significantly affect a person’s everyday life, impacting their ability to perform simple tasks, and participate in physical activities. There are many reasons why people develop lung diseases, but it is typically a combination of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors. The most common risk factors for lung diseases, like  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can include:

  • Smoking 
  • Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Exposure to fumes 
  • Genetics 
  • Occupational exposure to dust and chemicals 
  • Living in a poorly ventilated home 
  • Living in a highly polluted city 

a kid running towards a polluted cityscape

Because lung diseases are so common, there are many medications available to assist in the symptoms of these diseases. These bothersome symptoms often include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and a lack of energy. If you are diagnosed with COPD or asthma, your pulmonologist (a respiratory system specialist) will likely prescribe a maintenance and rescue inhaler. A maintenance inhaler is used once or twice a day, while a rescue inhaler is utilized if you have breathing difficulties. 

Maintenance inhalers cannot open the airways as quickly but can reduce the likelihood of severe COPD or asthma symptoms. Spiriva is one prescription medication used to improve COPD and asthma. Both Spiriva Handihaler and Spiriva Respimat are produced by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. Learn more about the history of this company and the possibilities of a generic Spiriva in the future.  

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a pharmaceutical company formed in 1885 by Albert Boehringer. The company had small beginnings in Ingelheim am Rhein, a town in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. From the beginning, Boehringer dedicated itself to new drug innovations. The company focuses on therapeutic methods that can help treat cardiovascular, respiratory, virologic, metabolic, and central nervous system diseases. 

Since its inception, Boehringer Ingelheim has weathered the storm of two world wars and the Great Depression. As the world was dealing with chaos, the company produced new drugs like cardiovascular drug sympatol and a respiratory drug lobelin

a German flag waving in the wind

During the first World War, Boehringer’s nephew Robert Boehringer ran the company and Heinrich Wieland, who later received the Nobel prize in chemistry. Today, the company is still run by relatives of these original families who continue this nationally successful pharmaceutical company. Visit our webpage to learn more about the history of Spiriva with Boehringer Ingelheim. 

Successful Drugs

Since its inception, Boehringer Ingelheim has made many successful drugs. The company is heavily focused on respiratory disorders and patients struggling with lung diseases. Spiriva Handihaler and Spiriva Respimat are two of the many drugs available to assist in chronic lung disorders. Boehringer Ingelheim prides itself on being at the cutting edge of COPD research as well as: 

  • Lung cancer 
  • Asthma 
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 

Boehringer Ingelheim is still based out of Germany but has a large U.S. subsidiary in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the largest offshoot of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies. Globally, the company has 142 affiliates and close to 50,000 employees. 

Is There a Generic Version of Spiriva?

In September 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Spiriva usage for daily maintenance of COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. Spiriva Respimat hit was available for use in January 2015.

green and white pills on a white background

Once a pharmaceutical company receives approval for a drug, the drug receives a patent. This patent gives the drug manufacturer exclusive rights to their new medication. Patents may be extended, but do not last forever. Drug patents can last for up to 20 years, with a guaranteed five years of patent exclusivity. After those five years, other drug companies may produce generic versions of this drug. 

Currently, there is no generic version of Spiriva in the United States. If you see a generic version of Spiriva in a pharmacy or online, know that any pharmaceutical governing body does not approve it. You mustn't purchase these off-brand medications because they may be counterfeit and potentially unsafe. Luckily, there is no need to worry about unsafe medications if you order through My Drug Center. All of our medications are properly approved and 100 percent safe. 

As of right now, the patent for Spiriva will expire on September 24, 2021. This date may get pushed further into the future, but another pharmaceutical company can create generic versions of the drug once it expires. Some patients prefer generic versions because they are typically cheaper than name-brand drugs. 

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