Return to section

Inhaler counts on patented design

Increasing focus in the US on compliance prompted Sanofi-Aventis to want to add a dose counter to its Metered Dry Powder Inhaler (MDPI) for patients with respiratory problems. It selected PDD to conceive, design and implement an inhaler counter to inform patients accurately of the doses remaining in the device.
PDD formed an integrated project team with the company's suppliers in Europe, Scandinavia and the US to understand the project constraints and used ethnographic research techniques to establish use requirements from asthma experts, nurses and patient.
Significant challenges were that the device needed to be held upright when reading the counter, and that its mechanism had to circumvent a mature intellectual property minefield. Sanofi-Aventis also wanted to maintain the proven device functionality and to make both the new and existing "Ultrahaler" versions on existing, automated assembly plant and filling-lines.
PDD developed a patented and compact counter mechanism; a wheel within a transparent wheel that also displays patented colour flags at near empty trigger points. The powder-resistant and fault-tolerant mechanism was verified on models and tooled prototypes before specification for 6 Sigma manufacture.

Learn more about our expertise and work in Medical and Healthcare.


Download the case study

News & Insights


PDD completes its transition to the 2016 version of ISO13485 for Medical Devices.

PDD has completed its planned transition to the latest version of this rigorous international quality assurance standard for medical devices, building on the success of earlier transitions and successful audits to the FDA 21CFR Part 820 in 2015.


The Role of Human-Centred Design in Healthcare Reform and Transformation

All too often our health care is taken for granted, and we assume it will always be available to serve our community’s needs. The question is “How Healthy are our Healthcare Facilities to handle the diversity of services and to produce healthy outcomes for an expansive and unprecedented market of six (6) living generations – All distinctively different with a diverse set of needs and priorities?” According to Pew Research Centre in 2015, 75.3 million Millennials (18-34) surpassed the number of 74.9 million Baby Boomers (51-69), and Gen X (35-50) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.

SanofiPDD’s continued partnership and support has helped Sanofi-Aventis to implement an innovative design solution. [It] fits our current manufacturing plant and is sympathetic to our supplier’s 6 Sigma requirements.

Dave Shadwell, Sanofi-Aventis