RIDGEFIELD, Conn., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Health initiative DRIVE4COPD today announced that two of the most powerful COPD organizations in America – the U.S. COPD Coalition and the COPD Alliance – have joined the mission to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). With these additions, the country's leading COPD groups are part of DRIVE4COPD and are working together to amplify the campaign's effort to draw attention to this common and debilitating disease.
To date, 40 associations and corporations have joined DRIVE4COPD to generate fundamental change in the way that COPD is viewed and addressed in this country. Together with these organizations, DRIVE4COPD is encouraging millions of Americans who may be at risk for the disease to take steps to improve their lung health.
The addition of the U.S. COPD Coalition will bring another 38 organizations on board to strengthen the efforts of DRIVE4COPD by raising awareness of COPD and reinforcing the importance of early screening. In collaboration with the Coalition, the DRIVE4COPD campaign will push for legislation at both the national and state levels to address the needs of COPD patients.
"It is incredible what DRIVE4COPD has been able to accomplish in its first year," remarked John Walsh, vice chair, U.S. COPD Coalition. "By working together as a unified COPD community with a singular voice, we can effectively mobilize shared resources to find those who may be at risk for this disease and don't know it."
The COPD Alliance, comprised of five professional societies that represent more than 320,000 healthcare professionals, will work to improve early detection of COPD into primary care settings nationwide. The members of the Alliance will lend their medical expertise to the development and implementation of DRIVE4COPD programs that aim to identify symptoms of COPD earlier, which can lead to better management of the disease for patients.
"Our mission is very in line with that of DRIVE4COPD," said Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, Chair, COPD Alliance. "We are all dedicated to improving the health of patients by providing knowledge and resources to healthcare professionals who are on the front lines diagnosing COPD."
COPD, also known as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or both, is a serious lung disease that robs people of their ability to breathe. It's the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and kills more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined. Currently, half of the estimated 24 million Americans who may have COPD remain undiagnosed.
DRIVE4COPD encourages all Americans aged 35 or older to log onto DRIVE4COPD.COM to take a brief, five-question screener to see if they might be at risk for COPD. If the screener indicates risk, patients should speak to their healthcare professional. Because COPD is a progressive disease that causes irreversible lung damage, early diagnosis and disease management are critical to helping patients breathe better in the future.
Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD is a landmark public health movement embraced by leading health, business, entertainment and sports organizations that aim to drive fundamental change in COPD awareness in this country. The unified efforts of the DRIVE4COPD network of organizations 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 founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., along with a powerful coalition of partnering organizations including the American Association for Respiratory Care, Country Music Association, COPD Alliance, COPD Foundation, NASCAR® and the U.S. COPD Coalition.
Joining this movement are DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors* including Emmy-nominated actor Jim Belushi, multi-platinum recording artist and television star Billy Ray Cyrus, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless, Go Daddy and NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Driver Danica Patrick, and Pro Football great Michael Strahan. Each has lost a loved one to COPD and has seen first-hand the impact of the disease.
This initiative aims to help millions of people affected by COPD by focusing national attention on this common and debilitating disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema – makes it harder to breathe because less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs.
As many as 24 million Americans may have COPD – even those who haven't smoked in years – and half of them remain undiagnosed. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. It kills one person every four minutes and more people each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined.
Common symptoms of COPD include coughing, with or without mucus, or shortness of breath. These symptoms are often confused with normal signs of aging. As COPD progresses, symptoms tend to get worse and more damage occurs in the lungs. Breathing gradually becomes more difficult until people with COPD feel like they are inhaling and exhaling through a small straw.
DRIVE4COPD Partnering Organizations
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the founding sponsor of the campaign, has joined forces with a cross-section of organizations to raise the profile of COPD in America:
American Association for Respiratory Care
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is the leading national and international professional association for respiratory care. The AARC encourages and promotes professional excellence, advances the science and practice of respiratory care, and serves as an advocate for patients and their families, the public, the profession and the respiratory therapist. To learn more about the AARC visit the website at www.aarc.org or visit our consumer website www.yourlunghealth.org.
Country Music Association
More than 6,000 music industry professionals and companies around the globe are members of the Country Music Association. Formed in 1958 as the first trade association for a single genre of music, the organization's objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry while advancing the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA's strategic imperatives - CMA Music Festival and the CMA Awards. For information about CMA visit www.CMAworld.com.
The COPD Alliance was formed to provide primary care clinicians with timely information, tools and support to facilitate the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of COPD. The Alliance is composed of multidisciplinary societies whose commitment is to help primary care clinicians improve their patients' quality of life through early diagnosis and management of COPD. For additional information and resources for the clinician and patient, visit www.copd.org.
The COPD Foundation is a not-for-profit organization created in 2004, and has become the COPD community's forefront organization, driven by the individuals affected by COPD, that has addressed educational, research and advocacy issues that concern the community in order to improve the quality of life for the 24 million Americans affected by COPD. For more information about the COPD Foundation and its programs, call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-COPD (2673) or visit the website at www.copdfoundation.org.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR sanctioned races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and 20 languages. NASCAR® fans are the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. DRIVE4COPD is the Official Healthcare Initiative of NASCAR.
U.S. COPD Coalition
Since 2001, the U.S. COPD Coalition has connected major professional, government, academic and patient organizations, all with the objective to improve the lives of people with COPD. The U.S. COPD Coalition's programs help to promote COPD awareness and education, enhance the effectiveness of member organization/partners' COPD efforts and ensure lawmakers hear the collective voice of the COPD Community.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17.7 billion (12.7 billion euro) while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.
For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com.
NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The NASCAR Nationwide Series™ word mark use used under license by NASCAR, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
©2011 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All rights reserved.
DRIVE4COPD is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
*The DRIVE4COPD Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.