The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada and Pear Healthcare Solutions Deliver a Collaborative Response to the Opioid Crisis: Opioid Safety Information Sheet Available in Pharmacies Across Canada

TORONTO, April 24, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada is facing an opioid crisis that sends 13 people to the emergency room every day.  The greater than 30% increase in opioid-related hospitalizations since 2007-2008 and the fact that about 50% of opioid overdoses are accidental has necessitated prompt, targeted action from key pharmacy stakeholders. 

In a joint effort to educate and inform patients and caregivers, and subsequently minimize negative outcomes of opioid use, the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) has collaborated with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) and Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc. (PHS) to make the Opioid Safety Information sheet available through various pharmacies across Canada.

This tool, developed by the ISMP, includes information that reinforces the importance of achieving a balance between pain control and dangerous side effects of opioids.  It discusses the side effects and the risk of overdose and addiction, lists the signs of overdose and highlights when to call 911 for a suspected overdose.  By educating those who may be at risk and their caregivers, it is hoped that overdose-related hospitalizations and deaths can be avoided.  "The handout will help patients improve their knowledge of the possible harms with opioid medications, and encourage conversations about pain treatment" said David U, President and CEO, ISMP Canada.

Recognizing that the pharmacists, as the most accessible healthcare providers in the community, play a key role in ensuring safe medication use, the Neighbourhood Pharmacies has worked closely with the ISMP and PHS to provide its member organizations with the Opioid Safety Information sheet to enable quality patient care and outcomes. Justin J. Bates, CEO, Neighbourhood Pharmacies said that "The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids is a national concern.  The handout underscores the important role pharmacy has in educating and informing patients on the proper use and understanding the risks of opioid use." 

As a provider of pharmacy education and patient relationship management software (SOLIS), PHS has been essential in helping pharmacists provide the Opioid Safety Information sheet for patients who are prescribed opioids right at the point of dispensing.  An integrated software solution, SOLIS allows pharmacists to provide enhanced consultation and support to patients and caregivers by targeting communication tools specifically to their needs.  Mark Doyle, President and CEO of PHS said "When Neighbourhood Pharmacies shared its opioid safety information sheet with us, we immediately saw an opportunity for Pear Healthcare Solutions to leverage the capabilities of our patient relationship management software, SOLIS, to expand the reach of this piece and ensure it gets in the hands of patients and caregivers who need it most.  As a privately-held, health communications agency with over 20 years operating in the pharmacy niche, we are thrilled to be able to partner with Neighbourhood Pharmacies, ISMP and select pharmacy retailers across Canada to help curb the opioid crisis."

Currently, the Opioid Safety Information sheet is available at the point of pharmacy care through several pharmacy chains across Canada with distribution expected to increase in the next few months. 

About the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Canada is an independent national not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings.  ISMP Canada works collaboratively with the healthcare community, regulatory agencies and policy makers, provincial, national and international patient safety organizations, the pharmaceutical industry and the public to promote safe medication practices.  ISMP Canada's mandate includes analyzing medication incidents, making recommendations for the prevention of harmful medication incidents, and facilitating quality improvement initiatives.  Information about ISMP Canada's work with Canadians to prevent medication incidents is available at:; and at, a website designed for consumers.

About the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada:

The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada represents the business of pharmacy and advocates for Canada's leading pharmacy brands who deliver high value, quality care to Canadians in all models including chain, banner, long-term care, and specialty pharmacies as well as grocery chains and mass merchandisers with pharmacies.  Our focus is on improving the delivery of care environment for pharmacy, while fostering the right business conditions for business success.  By leveraging the 9000 points of care with pharmacies conveniently located in every neighbourhood across Canada, we aim to advance sustainable healthcare for all stakeholders.

About Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc.:

Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc. is a Toronto-based, health communications agency with over 20 years of experience operating exclusively in the niche of pharmacy.  Pear's diverse and experienced team assists pharmacy retailers and pharmaceutical companies in navigating the ever-changing pharmacy landscape, optimizing patient care and growing their businesses.  Pear's proprietary products – Health eLearning (our online learning platform) and SOLIS (our point-of-dispensing, patient relationship management software), allow us to execute custom initiatives that put education into action, in a measurable way.  From strategic and brand planning sessions, to advisory boards; customized patient support programs to turnkey and targeted education and training sessions for pharmacists and pharmaceutical sales representatives, Pear is well-positioned to support all strategic and tactical needs in the Canadian retail pharmacy environment.

SOURCE Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

For further information: Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Sylvia Hyland, Chief Operating Officer,, 416-733-3131 ext. 222; Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, Anthony Silva, Chief Operating Officer/Senior Vice President, Stakeholder Relations,, 416-226-9100 ext. 4005; Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc., Dawn Murphy, Vice President, Client Services,, 416-236-9555 ext. 223


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