News Release Archive

Nova Scotia will be the location for one of the largest
population-based studies ever undertaken to measure and improve
existing health care for heart disease.

In a unique cooperative partnership, Merck Frosst Canada Inc.,
the Government of Nova Scotia, and the Division of Cardiology,
Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, are combining forces
to build a process of care that will improve health outcomes for
patients with heart disease.

Merck Frosst Canada Inc. is investing $6 million to fund the
study. In the first year $1.2 million has been designated to
support the program and create approximately 20 jobs in the
province. In addition, Nova Scotians will gain from the study by
receiving enhanced care and improved health outcomes.

Premier John Savage welcomed today's announcement, calling it an
endorsement of Nova Scotia's strength as a positive environment
for research and development.

"We have the university and medical infrastructure, the skilled
and dedicated workforce, the tax incentives and the can-do
attitude that makes our province a venue for research that is
second to none," said Premier Savage. "Today we are seeing how
that advantage can translate into jobs for Nova Scotians."

The project, titled Improving Cardiovascular Outcomes in Nova
Scotia (ICONS), will enroll patients hospitalized with heart
disease at acute care institutions in Nova Scotia, as well as
high-risk patients from the practices of physicians across the
province. Several thousand Nova Scotians are expected to be
enrolled and have their health monitored during the five-year
program. The study will measure and improve all aspects of care
and health outcomes for these patients using evidence-based

The five-year study should see its first patients enrolled by
April of this year. Research teams will be based at 10 major
referral hospitals in nine communities across Nova Scotia.

Those communities include Halifax Regional Municipality, Cape
Breton Regional Municipality, Amherst, Antigonish, New Glasgow,
Bridgewater, Truro, Kentville and Yarmouth. Local expertise and
infrastructure is being developed, including the participation of
local physicians and other medical and research personnel.

"The ICONS study marks a unique cooperative partnership in
patient health management," said Andre Marcheterre, president of
Merck Frosst Canada Inc. "ICONS will prove that evidence-based
disease management, utilizing innovative therapies, improves the
health of patients and addresses cost implications to the health
care system."

Merck Frosst is Canada's leading innovative pharmaceutical
company and markets an extensive line of products for the
treatment of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and
elevated cholesterol. The company has been recognized for its
support of clinical trials and outcomes research across Canada.

"Participating in the ICONS study will help us to effectively and
efficiently meet the health care needs of Nova Scotians with
cardiovascular disease," said Health Minister Bernie Boudreau.
"It is the opportunity to learn how to develop the best health
care system possible using our available resources."

The study will provide health care professionals with the
opportunity to acquire, analyze and respond to detailed and
comprehensive data on the management and outcomes of
cardiovascular disease.

"Our partnership with other health care providers -- doctors,
nurses, pharmacists -- as well as government and industry, should
impact favourably on care received by cardiovascular patients in
Nova Scotia," said Dr. David Johnstone, ICONS project chairperson
at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, division of cardiology, in

"This area of research is a growth industry and we wish to be
firmly established as front-runners with a leadership role in
outcomes research in cardiovascular care."

The unique cooperative partnership of government, health care
professionals, and the research-based pharmaceutical industry,
combined with the large patient sample size to be studied, and
the active application of optimal evidence-based practice, is
expected to improve health outcomes in Nova Scotia.


Contact: Lyne Fortin          1-800-361-7031

         Mary Noelle Cameron  902-428-7070

         Sue McKeage          902-424-3581

         Kelly Connelly       902-445-5200

NOTE TO EDITORS: There is an accent aigu on the "e" in Andre
(Andre Marcheterre).

trp                     Feb. 10, 1997 - 11:25 a.m.