Shepell-fgi and Rexall Collaborate to Support Business in Pandemic Preparation

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - Two leading organizations in the Canadian
marketplace today announced an alliance to provide an integrated solution to
support business pandemic preparation.
    "Shepell-fgi is committed to supporting the health of productivity of
organizations and employees," says Rod Phillips, CEO of Shepell-fgi. "Pandemic
influenza is a clear threat to both health and productivity. Many
organizations have been planning how to reorganize work during a pandemic but
few have spent enough, if any time considering the need to protect the
employees that have to be at work and how to proactively support their
productivity. Our collaboration with Rexall and the Rexall family of
pharmacies, provides for a full-circle pandemic solution for organizations
across Canada. This is an important development in the business community."
    "Our focus is on pharmacy and the health of our patients - our
comprehensive work in pandemic preparedness and employee health programs is an
extension of our commitment to patient-centred pharmacy care," said
Andy Giancamilli, CEO, Katz Group Canada Ltd./Rexall. "Antiviral medication is
critical to any pandemic preparedness plan. We've leveraged Rexall Direct, our
national prescription mail-order service, pharmacy innovation, and our
existing relationships in pharmaceuticals and distribution to deliver Rexall
Pandemic Prescription Services, a seamless program for organizations looking
to enhance protection for their employees. With our Shepell-fgi alliance,
we're in an even better position to offer a proactive employer-centric
solution that is critical to any pandemic emergency preparedness plan."
    Shepell-fgi and Rexall Pandemic Prescription Services offer the only
one-stop solution for implementing antiviral medication: from needs assessment
to process management to dispensation. The service is available nationally and
includes medication dispensation and delivery to all employees from head
office to remote employees.
    "We have spent a great deal of time researching the impact of pandemic
and looking at viable strategies," says Paula Allen, Vice President of
Shepell-fgi's Health Solutions and Research Group. "Pandemic is a threat to
business continuity, but it also has implications for the Occupational Health
and Safety Act, The Canada Labour Code, The Employment Standards Act's
emergency leave provisions and The Personal Health and Information Protection
Act. In terms of options to support employee health, social distancing, health
and hygiene programs, respirator masks, gloves and anti-viral medication all
have merit, but more than one must be used. One needs to consider the fact
that only antiviral medication is sustainable 24 hours a day. That is
important since pandemic peaks last several days and weeks. Human error and
the practical challenges will certainly compromise some of the other
    In addition to health, employee behaviour will be impacted by pandemic,
says Allen. A recent survey of 2,000 workers showed the impact of an antiviral
medication strategy on employee behaviour. In this study (Leger, 2007) 45% of
workers said that they would not feel comfortable reporting to work if someone
in their city had pandemic flu. If an employer provided medication to support
flu prevention, however, the number that did feel comfortable increased to
90%. This got our attention and was the final piece of evidence we needed to
move forward in this collaboration.
    "Collaborations to enable the delivery of important services, such as the
implementation of an antiviral medication strategy, should be applauded," says
Jim L. Hall, vice president sales and marketing at Roche Canada, the Canadian
distributor of the antiviral medication Tamiflu(R). "Roche Canada applauds
such collaborations as it may help Canadian corporations better prepare for an
influenza pandemic."
    "This collaboration between Shepell-fgi and Rexall will enable Canadian
businesses to better prepare for the potentially devastating effects of an
influenza pandemic," said Dr. Rav Kumar, Vice President, R & D Operations,
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), "GSK is committed to working with Shepell-fgi and
Rexall to help Canadian organizations to plan for - and implement - a
diversified antiviral stockpile."
    While antivirals continue to be available, during an official influenza
pandemic supply may be severely limited.

    About Shepell-fgi and the Shepell-fgi Research Group

    Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health and
productivity services, including prevention-focused Employee Assistance
Programs, Health and Disability Management, Organizational Health and Global
Services. The company services over six million employees and their families
across Canada, the United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps
organizations maintain healthy employees and healthy workplaces.
    The Shepell-fgi Research group, a division of Shepell-fgi, has a mandate
to educate employers and business leaders on physical, mental and social
health issues as these factors impact employees, their families and their
workplaces. The Shepell-fgi Research Group offers a precise understanding of
health and wellness trends by conducting sector and issue-based analysis.
Since 2004, the Shepell-fgi research group has published thirteen issues based
reports and seven sector based reports.

    About Rexall

    Among the most trusted names in Canadian pharmacy, Rexall is the flagship
banner for Katz Group and the Rexall family of pharmacies. Canadian owned and
operated, Katz Group is among North America's leading pharmacy groups and
Canada's largest integrated retail pharmacy network.
    In addition to pharmacy banners such as the Rexall family of pharmacies,
Katz Group's holdings include Rexall Direct, Canada's national mail-order
pharmacy, Drug Trading Company Limited - Canada's oldest and largest
independent pharmacy retail group, ProPharm Limited, a pharmacy systems
software/hardware development and technical service and support provider, as
well as Rexall divisions Rexall Specialty and Rexall Health Services -
dedicated to progressive pharmacy care and services. For more information on
Rexall visit

For further information:

For further information: Stephanie Baumann, Senior Manager, Marketing
Communications, Shepell-fgi,, (416) 355-5609;
Michelle Lee, Director, Corporate Relations, Rexall, 1-800-916-2226

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