MONTREAL, Quebec – September 25, 2012 – A large donation of a vitally needed treatment for cholera is on its way from the Montreal pharmaceutical company Pharmascience Inc. to the African country of Sierra Leone to treat people there who have been stricken by cholera in a serious outbreak of the disease which started earlier this year.
(Shipment from Health Partners International of Canada will save lives of people affected by disease which has struck nearly 20,000.)
The donation has been made by Pharmascience to Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC) and will be sent by the Montreal-based relief and development agency to Sierra Leone in partnership with Plan Canada, which is active in the West African country.
With almost 20,000 people infected and close to 300 killed by the outbreak to date, the Government of Sierra Leone has declared the cholera outbreak in the country a public health emergency. The alarming situation is linked to Sierra Leone’s past conflict, which caused a massive migration to cities, leading to overpopulation, poor water and sanitation. Cholera is a contagious, acute intestinal infection spread through contaminated food or water and can kill within hours without treatment.
Pharmascience is donating 15 pallets of its Pendopharm brand Pediatric Electrolyte, worth close to $70,000. Oral rehydration is exactly what is urgently needed since 80 per cent of people with cholera can be successfully treated if they have timely access to oral rehydration solution.
“This is a serious humanitarian crisis that has received little notice in Canada,” said Glen Shepherd, President and CEO of HPIC. “We are very grateful to Pharmascience for stepping up to make this impressive donation that will undoubtedly save many lives.”
Pharmascience has been a long-time generous donor of medicines to HPIC for overseas humanitarian use, making major annual contributions as well as special donations such as this in response to particular international crises. Over the past five years, Pharmascience has donated products to HPIC with a wholesale value of $23.5 million, making it one of the most generous product donors in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.