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Corporate Responsibility

National Pain Awareness Week – Message from Dr. Tom Koutsavlis, Vice-President, Research & Development, Purdue Pharma (Canada)

We know that chronic pain can have devastating effects on a patient’s quality of life. For people living with chronic pain, everyday activities can be a struggle and their pain often impacts their relationships with family, friends and co-workers. While families, caregivers and colleagues can’t feel the pain in the same way, they experience its effect in a profound way.

One in five Canadian adults suffer from chronic pain. I’ve heard this statistic time and again, and I’ve seen it live in my own clinical experience as a physician, and yet, it continues to be alarming. Let me say it again: one in five of us – 20 per cent of Canadians (more Canadians than those who suffer from diabetes, asthma and COPD combined) – live with chronic pain on a daily basis. Unlike an injury with visible wounds, pain can’t be seen, weighed or measured; nonetheless, it is real. Very real.

National Pain Awareness Week is about lifting the veil on what many Canadians are dealing with on a day-to-day basis: pain. We can’t see it or touch it, but if you are one who suffers, you can feel it. And, if you are the family member, caregiver, or colleague of one of pain’s victims, you feel it, too.

Here are a few more troubling statistics.

According to the Canadian Pain Society, pain is the most common reason for seeking healthcare in Canada; it is associated with the worst quality of life as compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease; and people living with pain have double the risk of suicide as compared to people without chronic pain[1]. The Canadian Pain Society estimates the annual cost of chronic pain in Canada is at least $56-60 billion[2]. As such, chronic pain costs more than cancer, heart disease and HIV combined[3].

This is a widespread tragic issue, and one that I – we – can’t ignore.

Purdue Pharma (Canada) is committed to continuing our research and development for the treatment of pain, including abuse-deterrent technologies to make misuse and abuse of prescription opioids more difficult. We are committed to finding solutions to help Canadians live with – and treat – their chronic pain that goes well beyond using available prescription products. We believe in our mission to make a positive impact on healthcare and on lives. And we’re not looking back.

[1] Canadian Pain Society. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet
[2] Canadian Pain Society. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet
[3] Pain Resource Centre. Pain in Canada Fact Sheet

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Doing the right thing

Purdue Pharma (Canada) believes that our corporate responsibility does not stop with providing innovative medicines designed to improve patient health and well-being. We believe we have a larger role to play in the health of our communities and we’re proud of our long standing commitment to corporate citizenship and community service. As part of our corporate responsibility program, we have four areas of focus:

  • Sponsorships, donations and grants

    Purdue Pharma (Canada) takes an active role in supporting organizations that try to improve the quality of life where our employees live and work. We provide sponsorships, donations, in-kind service support and grants.

    Our Commitment to the Community

    Purdue Pharma (Canada) believes its responsibility goes beyond the provision of innovative medicines.  Each year we contribute funding to a wide range of community organizations across Canada. These include health and science education programs, disease awareness initiatives, community agencies as well as the scientific and academic communities.

    As a proud and active member of Canada’s INNOVATIVE MEDICINES CANADA, Purdue Pharma (Canada) supports the Guidelines for Transparency in Stakeholder Funding. Please click here for a list of groups to which the company has provided funding.


    Purdue Pharma (Canada) is proud to donate products for international humanitarian aid through Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC).  This agency arranges shipments of products to needed areas of the world and also supplies physician travel packs, containing medicines and medical supplies suitable for use by individual physicians on overseas aid missions.

    If you are a physician interested in product donations to support international medical missions, please contact HPIC directly at 1-800-627-1787 or


    As an active member of Innovative Medicines Canada, Purdue Pharma (Canada) joins other member companies in voluntarily publishing aggregated sums of payments made to Canadian Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and Healthcare Organizations (HCOs) to increase transparency about our operations in Canada. Innovative Medicines Canada built a reporting framework to ensure consistency in the approach. As a key stakeholder within the Canadian healthcare system, the pharmaceutical industry plays an important role with patients, caregivers, healthcare practitioners (HCPs), governments, as well as payers in Canada.

    By bringing greater transparency to these valuable and well-regulated relationships we hope to increase understanding of the research-based pharmaceutical industry’s collaboration across the healthcare sector, and contribute to enhancing trust and value for patients, as well as our healthcare system.

    Collaboration among HCPs, HCOs and the pharmaceutical industry is essential to improving the quality of life of Canadians as it drives scientific advancements, enhances medical education, and promotes health literacy.

    View Purdue Pharma (Canada)’s disclosure of 2016 payments.

  • Preventing the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs

    The appropriate management of pain and addressing the effects of misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription pain medications are both serious public health problems. Pain affects millions of people each year. Pain medications remain a safe and effective treatment for appropriately selected and monitored patients. Unfortunately, misuse and abuse and diversion of pain medications can lead to tragic consequences, including addiction, overdose and death. Purdue Pharma (Canada) has been committed to providing resources to support the responsible use of prescription opioids for pain.

    As a pharmaceutical leader in pain medicine, we are acutely aware of the public health risk these powerful medications create, especially when they are diverted, misused and/or abused. That’s why we work with health experts and government agencies on efforts to reduce the risk of opioid abuse and misuse without reducing appropriate pain treatment. At Purdue Pharma (Canada) we support a number of initiatives that address the misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.

    Learn more

  • Safe disposal of prescription medicine

    Purdue has been an industry advocate of proper storage and safe disposal of prescription medicine. Safe disposal keeps drugs out of the hands of children and other people who might use them inappropriately. It keeps drugs out of landfill sites and water supplies. And it prevents the inadvertent use of unused or expired medications. A proud member of Canada Health Products Stewardship Association (CHPSA), Purdue helps to fund nation-wide programs that ensure safe and effective collection and disposal of prescription medications. Please visit for more information.


    Don’t throw it out, visit

  • Employee initiatives

    Purdue Pharma (Canada) employees can expect a work environment that focuses on their health and wellness, while providing opportunities to grow, learn, be engaged and fulfilled.Employees also have the opportunity to give back through volunteer efforts in the community and various fundraising campaigns, such as United Way.

    Each year Purdue Pharma (Canada) employees join together to donate their time, energy and financial resources during our annual employee fundraising campaign for the United Way of Ajax-Pickering-Uxbridge.  Our longstanding commitment to United Way has been recognized year after year with several awards.  In 2009, Purdue Pharma (Canada) celebrated an outstanding campaign with two awards, including a corporate and employee award of excellence honouring the generosity of our company and employees and an award recognizing our employee campaign coordinator for running a successful campaign.

    We also run annual campaigns where employees donate clothes, personal care and household items to Durham-area shelters to help those in need.

    These initiatives help foster a culture of volunteerism where employees have the opportunity to get involved and make a difference.

    For more information on our Corporate Responsibility initiatives, contact us at 905-420-6400.

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Keeping healthcare professionals informed

Purdue Pharma (Canada) works in partnership with key stakeholders to ensure appropriate prescribing, dispensing and use of our medicines. This includes continuing health education (CHE) for healthcare professionals.

Our educational efforts include:

  • Our Pain Management Resource Centre (PMRC), which offers an annual program independently developed and taught by doctors focusing on pain assessment, addiction and abuse, and proper prescribing of controlled substances.
  • Distributing medical practice guidelines and screening tools that have been developed by independent experts and relevant authorities to help doctors identify people who are seeking medicines illegally.
  • Supporting activities of major professional societies at their annual conferences, including seminars, speaker presentations and satellite symposia.
  • Grants to hospitals and other organizations for grand rounds, speaker presentations and workshops at the local, provincial and national levels.

These programs help to educate thousands of healthcare professionals in Canada.

For more information please contact our CHE team at 905-420-6400.