Shoppers Drug Mart unveils arthritis screening program in Canada

TORONTO — Minister of Health Rona Ambrose joined with Domenic Pilla, Shoppers Drug Mart president and CEO, on Monday in the launch of the company's Arthritis Screening program — a way for Canadians to work with a pharmacist to help detect arthritis early and manage their condition.

Pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada will be providing arthritis screening and information to Canadians as part of a three-year partnership between Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, Arthritis Consumer Experts and the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada.

"Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists are already actively involved in managing complex chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and now arthritis," stated Pilla. "By becoming increasingly involved in managing complex chronic diseases, pharmacists are helping to ease the burden on the healthcare system, while also helping to improve patient care."

The Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening is the first and only program in Canada designed with women in mind because the disease affects 2-out-of-3 or 2.8 million Canadian women. To help detect the disease at an early stage, the program includes a self-administered joint exam and questionnaire. It also helps Canadians with arthritis work with a pharmacist to monitor their symptoms and medication over time to prevent the disease from worsening.

An estimated 1-out-of-6 Canadians aged 15 years and older live with arthritis and its prevalence has a tremendous impact, translating into lost productivity, absenteeism and increased healthcare spending — costing an estimated $33 billion annually.

"Our government supports initiatives that help Canadians better manage their health and improve their quality of life," stated Ambrose. "We are pleased to have funded research that contributed to the development of this innovative new program that will improve the quality of life of Canadians living with arthritis."

The program was developed from research carried out at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada with funding provided from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It shows how researchers, patients and the private sector can work together to provide innovative health solutions to Canadians.

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