Montreal's Pharmascience Inc. donates vitally needed treatments to fight cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone

Shipment from Health Partners International of Canada will save lives of people affected by disease which has struck nearly 20,000

MONTREAL, Sept. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - A large donation of a vitally needed treatment for cholera is on its way from the Montreal pharmaceutical company Pharmascience Inc. to the African country of Sierra Leone to treat people there who have been stricken by cholera in a serious outbreak of the disease which started earlier this year.

The donation has been made by Pharmascience to Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) and will be sent by the Montreal-based relief and development agency to Sierra Leone in partnership with Plan Canada, which is active in the West African country.

With almost 20,000 people infected and close to 300 killed by the outbreak to date, the Government of Sierra Leone has declared the cholera outbreak in the country a public health emergency. The alarming situation is linked to Sierra Leone's past conflict, which caused a massive migration to cities, leading to overpopulation, poor water and sanitation. Cholera is a contagious, acute intestinal infection spread through contaminated food or water and can kill within hours without treatment.

Pharmascience is donating 15 pallets of its Pendopharm brand Pediatric Electrolyte, worth close to $70,000. Oral rehydration is exactly what is urgently needed since 80 per cent of people with cholera can be successfully treated if they have timely access to oral rehydration solution.

"This is a serious humanitarian crisis that has received little notice in Canada," said Glen Shepherd, President and CEO of HPIC. "We are very grateful to Pharmascience for stepping up to make this impressive donation that will undoubtedly save many lives."

Pharmascience has been a long-time generous donor of medicines to HPIC for overseas humanitarian use, making major annual contributions as well as special donations such as this in response to particular international crises. Over the past five years, Pharmascience has donated products to HPIC with a wholesale value of $23.5 million, making it one of the most generous product donors in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.

About Pharmascience Inc.

Founded in 1983 in Montreal, where its headquarters remain, privately held Pharmascience Inc. is Quebec's largest manufacturer of generic drugs. Through its International Division, its products are exported to 60 countries around the world. It also makes and distributes patented prescription and over-the-counter treatments through its Pendopharm division while its Aegera Division is researching innovative new biotechnology therapies. Pharmascience is one of Canada's leading corporate investors in research and development and employs more than 1,300 people, primarily in Montreal.

About HPIC

Health Partners International of Canada is a humanitarian not-for-profit relief and development organization dedicated to improving access to medicine and enhancing health in the developing world. HPIC contributes to well-being by providing donated essential medicines, supplies and vaccines, building national health sector capacities, and responding to emergencies and health threats. We partner with a network of ministries of health, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and healthcare professionals, with pharmaceutical and healthcare product companies, and with Canadian government departments; and we count on the financial support of individual donors, foundations and corporations. Because of our unique model, HPIC multiplies every donated dollar to provide, without discrimination, at least $10 of free medical aid.

Image with caption: " David Goodman, right, Chief Executive Officer, Pharmascience Inc., makes a symbolic presentation of a box of the company's Pediatric Electrolyte cholera treatment to Michel Harpin, Executive Director, Industry Relations, Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC), inside a trailer being loaded at a Pharmascience distribution centre in Montreal, Quebec. Pharmascience donated 15 pallets of the treatment to HPIC for immediate shipment to Sierra Leone to fight a serious outbreak of cholera in the West African country. (CNW Group/Health Partners International of Canada)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Health Partners International of Canada

For further information:

Christina Parsons
Senior Director, Communications, HPIC
Tel: 514-929-4742

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Health Partners International of Canada

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