Neutrophils play an important role in the pathogenesis of airway inflammation in both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and severe asthma. Currently available drugs have only limited effects on neutrophilic airway inflammation, particularily in COPD. Therefore, great efforts are undertaken to address neutrophilic inflammation in chronic respiratory disorders, in particular COPD. This review summarizes the rationale for anti-neutrophilic treatment in COPD and asthma and gives a critical overview of current developments in drug therapy. Moreover, unanswered questions and limitations of clinical trial design and choice of outcome parameters for proof-of-concept studies with novel anti-neutrophilic drugs are discussed as well as potential safety issues.