MPP Jim Bradley joins Ontario Pharmacists in launching "Heart Health" initiative



    ST. CATHARINES, ON, June 28 /CNW/ - St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley
participated today along with the Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA),
AstraZeneca Canada Inc. and Pfizer Canada Inc. in the launch of Safe Meds for
Heart, an important new educational initiative for seniors aimed at maximizing
heart health through the proper use of medication.
    "This type of initiative goes a long way to letting our citizens know
about the options available to them if they have cardiovascular problems,"
said MPP Jim Bradley. "I commend pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry
for making this important information available to people in St. Catharines."
    Safe Meds for Heart provides seniors with information about risk factors
for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and how to
reduce and manage these risks. The program highlights the role of the
pharmacist as a medication expert. Pharmacists can provide people who suffer
from or are at risk of heart disease with counseling and information on proper
use of prescription, over-the-counter and herbal products to ensure they get
maximum benefit from their medication.
    "There are many factors that contribute to the misuse of medication,
including taking expired medications, not having enough knowledge about their
medications, taking the wrong dose or having an incomplete or inaccurate
medication record," says Sherrie Hertz, OPA's Director of Pharmacy Programs.
"Pharmacists are the primary source in health care for expertise and advice on
the safe, effective and appropriate use of medications and are working
co-operatively with government, private industry and other health care
providers to ensure seniors get the information they need to lead healthier
and longer lives."
    Research clearly demonstrates why initiatives such as the Safe Meds for
Heart Program are necessary:
    
      -  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canada.
      -  25% of hospital admissions for patients over the age of 50 are a
         result of inappropriate use of medications.
      -  57% of Canadians over the age of 65 suffer from high blood pressure.
    

    MPP Bradley participated in a Safe Meds for Heart seminar for over 100
seniors in his riding today at the Niagara Ina Grafton Gage Village. The Safe
Meds for Heart program is being conducted jointly by OPA in partnership with
AstraZeneca Canada Inc. and Pfizer Canada Inc. It builds on the success of the
original Safe Meds for Seniors program. Over 37,000 seniors have already
attended a Safe Meds seminar.
    "AstraZeneca Canada is committed to improving the cardiovascular health
of senior citizens in Ontario and our support of the Safe Meds for Heart
program is an extension of that commitment," says William Charnetski, Vice
President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, AstraZeneca Canada. "This
initiative will have a tremendous impact on the lives of Canadian seniors
because it will enable them to manage their health more effectively and make
better, more informed decisions."

    SAFE MEDS FOR HEART

    "The true value of medicine is best realized within a system of care
where patients are well-informed and supported by a team of dedicated
healthcare professionals," says John Helou, Vice-President, Public Affairs and
Stakeholder Relations, Pfizer Canada. "Pfizer is proud to once again support
the Safe Meds for Heart program. We commend the Ontario Pharmacists'
Association for their ongoing efforts to support the appropriate and safe use
of medicines for all Ontarians."
    "We encourage patients to establish long-term relationships with their
local pharmacist," says Donnie Edwards, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists'
Association. "The more patients know about the medications they take, the more
empowered they are to manage their health appropriately with the help of their
pharmacist."

    About AstraZeneca

    AstraZeneca is a leading global pharmaceutical company with an extensive
product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal,
cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology, and respiratory.
AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters and packaging facilities are located in
Mississauga, Ontario, and its state-of-the-art drug discovery centre is based
in Montréal, Québec. For more information, visit the company's website at
www.astrazeneca.ca.

    About Pfizer Inc.

    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer's ongoing
research and development activities focus on a wide range of therapeutic areas
following our guiding aspiration...Working for a healthier world. For more
information, visit www.pfizer.ca.

    About OPA

    The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association
representing the views and interests and advocates for over 10,000 practicing
pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training, in Canada's largest province. For
more information, visit www.opatoday.com.





For further information:

For further information: Mary-Anne Cedrone, Manager of Communications,
Ontario Pharmacists' Association, Tel: (416) 441-0788, Email:
mcedrone@opatoday.com; Jennifer McCormack, Communications Specialist,
AstraZeneca Canada, Tel: (905) 615-6837, Email:
jennifer.mccormack@astrazeneca.com; Christian Marcoux, Manager, Corporate
Communications, Pfizer Canada Inc., Tel: (514) 426-6985, Email:
christian.marcoux@pfizer.com


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