Shoppers Drug Mart has launched WOMEN, a broad commitment to provide local, regional and national support for the pursuit of women's health.

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Shoppers Drug Mart steps up support of women's health

March 3rd, 2011

TORONTO – Shoppers Drug Mart has launched WOMEN, a broad commitment to provide local, regional and national support for the pursuit of women's health.

Through the initiative unveiled Wednesday, the Canadian drug store chain said it plans to provide more than $40 million over five years to organizations focused on helping women achieve optimal health.

A national survey released Wednesday by Shoppers Drug Mart highlighted a need for resources in the area of women's whole health. The poll found that more than two-thirds of Canadian women don't feel women's health gets the attention it deserves, and about 68% think that women's health is underfunded in Canada.

"At Shoppers Drug Mart, we believe that when women are healthy and well, we are all healthy and well," stated Mary-Alice Vuicic, chief administrative officer and executive vice president at the Toronto-based pharmacy chain. "So the glaring gap between the health priorities of Canadian women and the support they feel they have is particularly troubling. We feel compelled as an organization to focus the resources we can offer Canadian women, at all stages of their life, to help them achieve optimal health."

Under the WOMEN initiative, Shoppers Drug Mart has identified five major partnerships, created with leading experts and institutions that represent key health issues facing women across the span of their lifetime and experience. The partnerships include the following:

• Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers. Women's cancers will affect one in seven Canadian women in their lifetimes. In response, Shoppers Drug Mart has become the title sponsor of the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers. Every year, tens of thousands of walkers in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, including the retailer's corporate team of over 1,000 associate-owners and employees from across Canada, raise essential funds for research and patient care.

• Tree of Life. The annual Shoppers Drug Mart Tree of Life campaign offers patients, customers and employees the opportunity to donate directly to the organizations that make a difference to women's health in their own communities. Since 2002, the campaign has raised more than $15 million for local women's health organizations and initiatives. Every year, each store's associate-owner picks a local women's health charity deemed especially in need of assistance and donates the proceeds of the Tree of Life campaign to that charity.

• Motherisk. The Motherisk Toll-free Helpline is based at the Hospital for Sick Children. It provides new mothers and all caregivers nationwide with bilingual access to counselors health professionals, offering expert guidance on the effects of medications, chronic disease, medical treatments and many other areas regarding pregnancy and a new baby.

• The web site is the first major online community where women living with cancer can share, learn, confide and connect. In partnership with the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) Foundation, will connect women living with cancer and all who care for them with resources and information, as well as with each other.

• In partnership with Canada's Women's College Hospital, Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN is getting behind several initiatives that will improve and increase the tools and information women need to make good health choices. These include becoming the premier sponsor of the hospital's web site,; supporting the creation of a new web site focused on women's mental health; and helping develop a national Women's Health Report, which will guide the creation of resources women need to achieve optimal health.

Shoppers Drug Mart noted that the national survey showed that although most Canadian women are actively seeking health and wellness information and advice, they don't believe they have adequate support in that quest. Only 38% of respondents think they are surrounded by a network of people who prioritize their own health, and 37% believe their community does the same.