Chronic pain research and treatment in Quebec gets $4.35-million boost from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, MSSS and FRSQ

    Unique public-private partnership in Quebec's pain research and
    treatment networks will provide better tools to research, diagnose
    and treat chronic pain

    MONTREAL, Feb. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Two of Canada's leading pharmaceutical
companies are joining forces with the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec
(FRSQ) and Quebec's Health and Social Services Ministry (MSSS) to help in the
battle against chronic pain and give a boost to Quebec's pain researchers and
clinics affiliated with Quebec's four medical-research universities.
    The partnership - a first in Canada - is designed to strengthen what is
already the country's leading pain research and treatment network, the Quebec
Pain Research Network (QPRN), which links pain clinics at Quebec's four
university-hospital networks and more than 75 doctors and researchers
specialized in chronic pain.
    Under the partnership, Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, the FRSQ and MSSS will
provide $4.35 million over four years to fund research and education that will
improve our understanding of chronic pain and help doctors diagnose and treat
pain more effectively.
    "Chronic pain is a devastating and debilitating silent epidemic and we
need better knowledge and treatments for doctors and patients," said Dr. Yves
de Koninck, Scientific Director of the QPRN and professor affiliated with
Laval University and the university's Centre de recherche Université Laval
Robert-Giffard. "More than a million Quebecers - about one in five - will
suffer from chronic pain during their lifetime. The economic costs alone in
health care and loss of productivity are staggering - an estimated
$125 billion a year in the US."

    Joint battle against chronic pain

    "The battle against chronic pain is really a collective effort uniting
researchers in the public and private sectors, front-line medical
professionals and patients themselves," said Alain Beaudet, President and CEO
of the FRSQ. In leading the partnership, the FRSQ's goal is to support
Quebec's pain research, particularly to advance understanding of prevalence,
incidence and the natural course of different pain syndromes, and to ensure
that this knowledge is transferred to the clinic to benefit patients.
    "This initiative takes us to the next level by bringing our research
knowledge and excellence onto the front-lines to help doctors and patients
manage pain more effectively," Beaudet said.
    The QPRN groups researchers and doctors at Université de Montréal,
Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval and McGill University, as well as
their teaching hospitals, government organizations and the Association
Québécoise de la douleur chronique, Quebec's leading patient group.
    "The Quebec government is pleased to partner with the FRSQ to establish
this important chronic pain research initiative. This investment will enable
the QPRN to structure clinical research, facilitate the transfer of
discoveries and practical knowledge to medical professionals and improve the
treatment of chronic pain sufferers. The QPRN's activities are among the most
pertinent and essential in improving the quality of life for the 20% of
Quebecers who suffer from pain at some point in their lives," said Philippe
Couillard, Minister of Health and Social Services.

    Quebec a world leader in pain research

    "At AstraZeneca, we established our analgesia drug discovery laboratories
in Montreal in large part because Quebec is a renowned world leader in pain
research excellence," said Dr. Philippe Walker, Vice-President Discovery, and
head of AstraZeneca's research laboratories in Montreal, where more than
100 scientists and chronic-pain experts work on developing better medicines to
treat and manage pain. "This is a unique partnership and opportunity for us to
work together to gain better insight into the causes of chronic pain and how
to manage pain more effectively for the benefit of patients."
    "Pfizer is a leader in the research of innovative solutions for pain
management, including the development of unique compounds which are breaking
scientific ground and discovering novel ways to treat chronic pain," says
Dr. Bernard Prigent, Vice-President and Medical Director, Pfizer Canada.
"Pfizer is proud to join this partnership as the QPRN initiative is a unique
model which could streamline research efforts aiming to improve diagnosis and
treatment of chronic pain. The transfer of these research findings to
healthcare professionals in hospital, clinic settings and research
organizations such as Pfizer, will be key in our collective capacity to
develop better treatment options for people living with chronic pain."
    The partnership investment is $4.35 million over four years. The FRSQ has
committed $2 million over four years, Pfizer Canada $1.2 million over four
years, AstraZeneca $750,000 over three years, and MSSS $400,000 over four
    Pfizer and AstraZeneca have research facilities around the world and are
both major investors in R&D in Canada, with Pfizer investing about
$190 million a year and AstraZeneca more than $100 million a year. As the
health-research funding arm of the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development,
Innovation and Export Trade, the FRSQ invests about $90 million a year in
health research and education in Quebec.

    Pain facts:

    - Chronic pain strikes one in five adults - 1.2 million Quebecers will
      suffer from chronic pain during their lifetime. Among the elderly, the
      proportion rises to 50 percent.
    - Women are more at risk of developing chronic pain than men.
    - People with chronic pain have been suffering on average for 7 years.
    - Nearly half (47%) say their pain is not under control.
    - Chronic pain adversely affects quality of life, both in terms of
      emotional well-being and ability to function normally.
    -%SU: SAN,TAX
    -%RE: 1

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews with leading pain
experts in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec City, please contact: Michelle
Dubuc, FRSQ, (514) 873-2114 Ext. 235; Sylvie Tessier, Pfizer Canada Inc.,
(514) 693-4609; Jennifer Robinson, AstraZeneca R&D, (514) 518-3505; Isabelle
Merizzi, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), (418) 266-7171

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Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé

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