November 04, 2010

Unprecedented Collaboration of Celebrities, Sports, Healthcare and

Consumer Organizations Unite to Put the Brakes on COPD

Ridgefield, CT, November 4, 2010 – Events across the country today mark the first annual DRIVE4COPD

Great American Screen Off to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and screen people for their risk of the disease. The Screen Off is believed to be the largest single day in our nation’s history dedicated to screening for and raising awareness of America’s fourth leading cause of death.

The Screen Off is driven by four high-profile celebrities impacted by COPD and a powerful group of sports, healthcare and consumer organizations, all united to put the brakes on COPD, a progressive disease that kills more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined.

“From coast to coast, we’ve seen a groundswell of support and commitment for this cause,” said Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick, who lost her grandmother to COPD. “I’ll be in Dallas/Fort Worth for the Screen Off encouraging people to know what COPD is and to be screened. I’m calling on people aged 35 and older to go to DRIVE4COPD.COM to answer five brief questions to see if they are at risk and talk to their doctor.”

COPD develops slowly and worsens over time. Breathing gradually becomes more difficult for people with COPD until they feel like they are inhaling and exhaling through a small straw. In the U.S., many patients are not diagnosed until they have lost half their lung function.

“Approximately 24 million Americans may have COPD but half of them don’t know it,” said Brian Carlin, MD, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine. “This screener is a great first step so people can find out if they might be at risk. Then, they can work with their healthcare providers to get the help they need to breathe better now and in the future.”

The DRIVE4COPD Movement

Since launching in February, the DRIVE4COPD campaign has already screened nearly 500,000 people.

And now, to help support the growing national movement, hundreds of thousands more COPD screeners have already been sent to collaborating organizations at thousands of locations.

Partnering organizations, retailers and managed care companies across the country are each finding their own unique way to support the DRIVE4COPD movement through efforts like state action plans, e-mails to memberships, and employee screening programs. For example, Sprint® is encouraging screenings at their annual employee health and wellness event, local Posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) are asking their members to attend Screen Off events, and the New York COPD Coalition is announcing their state action plan, all on and around November 4.

Local market activities and in-store screenings are slated at some of the nation’s best known pharmacy chains including New York City-based Duane Reade stores, Ralphs Grocery Company Pharmacies in Southern California and thousands of Pharmacy First independent pharmacies. And, in addition to their ongoing efforts, the DRIVE4COPD partnering organizations, including the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC), local chapters of the American Lung Association (ALA) and COPD Foundation are further mobilizing their members to drive screenings.


DRIVE4COPD is a multi-year public health initiative that aims to help people identify symptoms of COPD, take action to see if they may be at risk for the disease, and talk to their healthcare provider. The campaign is led by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. along with a powerful coalition of organizations including the American Association of Respiratory Care, American Lung Association and COPD Foundation.

DRIVE4COPD is the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR®.

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