Health Minister Rona Ambrose Launches Innovative Arthritis Screening Program at Shoppers Drug Mart

New Program Strives to Reduce Impact of this Growing Chronic Disease

Toronto – September 9, 2013 – Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, joined with Domenic Pilla, Shoppers Drug Mart President & CEO in the launch of the Company’s Arthritis Screening program - a unique way for Canadians to work with a pharmacist to help detect arthritis early and manage their condition.

An estimated one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older live with arthritis and its prevalence has a tremendous impact, translating into lost productivity, absenteeism and increased health care spending – costing an estimated $33 billion annually.

”Our Government supports initiatives that help Canadians better manage their health and improve their quality of life,” says Minister 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.

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 “Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists are already actively involved in managing complex chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and now arthritis,” says Domenic Pilla, President and CEO, Shoppers Drug Mart. “By becoming increasingly involved in managing complex chronic diseases, pharmacists are helping to ease the burden on the health care 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 two out of three 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.

"The arthritis community is excited to be partnering with Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix. They’re on main streets across Canada, right where the more than 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis live and work. Pharmacists are a key member of an arthritis patient’s healthcare team. Now, Shoppers’ pharmacists will be able to share valuable arthritis information and detect or confirm arthritis with patients through innovative consumer education programs right at the pharmacy counter.”

“We’re thrilled that Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is putting our research to work by launching this important initiative in its stores,” said Dr. John Esdaile, scientific director of ARC. “Early diagnosis of arthritis is critical to slowing the progress of this disease. That’s why ARC scientist Carlo Marra and his team have invested enormous energy in developing the screening exam tool for pharmacists. We hope Canadians will get screened through this program and get access to the care they need to improve their health and quality of life.”

Arthritis is the second most frequently mentioned condition as a cause of disability among men, but first among women. Arthritis related disability includes limitations in mobility, such as moving around, reaching and bending and transportation; self-care; domestic life; and community, social and civic life.


About Shoppers Drug Mart

Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing. The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With more than 1,244 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada. The Company also licenses or owns 57 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and six luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale. As well, the Company owns and operates 62 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to longterm care facilities.


About Arthritis Consumer Experts

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) provides science-based information, education and support programs to people with arthritis to help them take control of their disease and improve their quality of life. ACE actively advocates on arthritis health issues through ACE's JointHealth™ family of programs and the National Arthritis Awareness Program. Please visit joint, join us on, follow us on Twitter @ACEJointHealth or download our app


About the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada

The Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC) is an international leader in medical research on Canada's most debilitating chronic disease. ARC conducts consumer-driven clinical research to help reduce the burden of arthritis, and give people with arthritis better, more timely, and cost-effective solutions for living with their disease. With research centres in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, ARC's research is making a critical difference in arthritis diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, care outcomes and quality of life issues for millions of arthritis patients.


About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada. 


For more information, please contact:

Jeanelle Awa / Shaday Livingston 
Environics Communications
416-969-2670 / 416-969-2759 /

Tammy Smitham  
Shoppers Drug Mart  

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health