BACKGROUND: Appropriate use of inhaled therapies for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is critical to ensuring good patient outcomes, efficient use of healthcare resources and limiting the effects of high-morbidity. The appropriate choice of inhaler and active therapy, incorporating patient preferences, can help improve treatment adherence and long-term outcomes. Despite this, many current inhalers are non-intuitive to use, and require extensive training. METHODS: In this review, an expert panel considers the evidence for the use of inhaler devices in management of COPD and asthma. The panel also evaluates the value of innovation in inhaler technologies, which optimise the use of existing molecules from a clinical, economic and societal perspective. CONCLUSIONS: The panel conclusion is that there remains a substantial unmet need in inhaler technology and that innovation in inhaler devices can provide real-world health benefits to patients. Furthermore, we recommend that these innovations should be supported by healthcare systems through appropriate pricing and reimbursement mechanisms.