JointHealth™ express   September 9, 2013

Arthritis Consumer Experts and the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada help develop arthritis awareness and screening initiative with Canada’s largest retail drug store

Dear Readers,

I am excited to announce a new partnership between Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE), the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC), and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix (“Shoppers”).

Together the three partners have created a new health awareness campaign, part of which offers free arthritis prevention, screening and treatment information provided by pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers stores across Canada. The initiative was announced today at a launch event in Toronto, which was attended by the Federal Minister of Health; Rona Ambrose, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Dr. Jane Aubin; Shoppers Drug Mart Chief Executive Officer and President Domenic Pilla; as well as ACE and ARC executives.

Arthritis is a significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated disease. Research shows that early diagnosis and treatment can make a critical difference to health outcomes for people living with the disease. This three-year partnership between ACE, ARC and Shoppers will provide Canadians with an important opportunity to get screened for the most common types of arthritis and make a significant difference in the lives of individuals and families living with it.

During the launch, Minister Ambrose said of the partnership, ”Our Government supports initiatives that help Canadians better manage their health and improve their quality of life. We are pleased to have funded research that contributed to the development of this innovative new program that will improve the quality of life of Canadians living with arthritis.”

Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is on main streets across Canada, right where the more than 4.6 million Canadians with arthritis live and work. Through the partnership, valuable and easily accessible programs on arthritis prevention, detection/screening, treatment and research will reach millions of consumers.

This partnership was formed out of the recognition that the pharmacist is a key member of your arthritis healthcare team.

Dr. John Esdaile, Scientific Director of ARC, says of the partnership, “We’re thrilled that Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is putting our research to work by launching this important initiative in its stores. Early diagnosis of arthritis is critical to slowing the progress of this disease. That’s why ARC scientist Carlo Marra and his team have invested enormous energy in developing the screening exam tool for pharmacists. We hope Canadians will get screened through this program and get access to the care they need to improve their health and quality of life.”

Consumers can use in-store arthritis tools and participate in a personal consultation with the pharmacist to help detect or manage arthritis. During the consultation, the pharmacist reviews data from the innovative ArthritisID screening exam developed by ACE and ARC, along with other health information, to provide appropriate, personalized recommendations based on the latest classification criteria of the American College of Rheumatology and the Canadian Rheumatology Association. An online version of the ArthritisID screening exam is also available on to help consumers identify whether they may have arthritis and to prevent or delay its onset.

For those who have been diagnosed with arthritis already, the Shoppers pharmacist is well-informed about arthritis medication therapies, how to use them, what to monitor, their effectiveness, and side effects. The pharmacist can also recommend an appropriate healthcare provider if more information or treatment is needed, answer many non-medication related questions, and steer people toward the right non-medication therapies. Another benefit of the partnership for people living with arthritis is the ability to find important information about the arthritis community while visiting their local Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix.

“Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists are already actively involved in managing complex chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and now arthritis,” said Domenic Pilla, President and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. “By becoming increasingly involved in managing complex chronic diseases, pharmacists are helping to ease the burden on the healthcare system, while also helping to improve patient care.”

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Cheryl Koehn
President and Founder of Arthritis Consumer Experts and person living with arthritis