Posted February 02, 2011

Campaign Unites Corporations, Celebrities and Health Organizations To Redefine COPD in America

Ridgefield, CT, February 2, 2011 – DRIVE4COPD today announced that it achieved its goal of screening 1 million Americans to determine their risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in its first year. The health awareness campaign aims to make a fundamental change in how COPD is addressed in this country and an important part of this effort is to find the millions who may be at risk for COPD and do not know it.

COPD, a progressive disease that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Over time, it damages the lungs and makes it harder to breathe. This damage is permanent, but if identified, COPD can be managed. Of the estimated 24 million Americans who may have COPD, half don’t know it. The validated COPD Population Screener™ offered by DRIVE4COPD is an important first step for those who might be at risk.

“For many, taking the brief, five-question screener may be the first indication that they are at risk for COPD,” said Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, Chair, COPD Alliance. “The results of the screener can prompt those at risk to have a conversation with a healthcare professional and if needed, take steps to prevent irreversible lung damage.”

Nearly 20 percent of the people who have taken the screener scored high enough to indicate they may be at risk for COPD. The campaign asks those who identify as at-risk to share the results of the screener with their healthcare professional. All Americans age 35 or older who have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime are encouraged to log onto DRIVE4COPD.COM and be screened.

The true reach of the campaign extends even beyond the 1 million who have taken the screener. In the past year, DRIVE4COPD has touched hundreds of millions more lives by sharing vital information on COPD symptoms and the need to take action. Partnering organizations, committed Celebrity Ambassadors and corporate partners have supported DRIVE4COPD and helped spread the campaign to people across the country. In addition, DRIVE4COPD has collaborated with businesses nationwide to educate their employees and customers about COPD and the importance of getting screened for risk.

“We are thrilled that in just one year, we have already made a mark on reaching the millions of people who may be at risk for COPD,” said Chris Barrett, Senior Vice President at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “With our campaign partners we’ve been able to reach a far greater audience than we ever could have alone, and we welcome other partners to join our mission.”

This remarkable accomplishment attests to the campaign’s success in working to change the way COPD is viewed and addressed in America, but much work remains. COPD is the only leading cause of death in America that is on the rise and still takes one life every four minutes.

This year, the campaign is collaborating with partners on exciting new endeavors to reach the public and continue its work to put the brakes on COPD. Through art, music, sports, live events and online activities, DRIVE4COPD is continuing to educate Americans with the message that early COPD screening and detection may help those with COPD work with their healthcare professionals to breathe easier.

Launched in February 2010, DRIVE4COPD is a landmark public health movement embraced by leading health, business, entertainment and sports organizations that are aimed at driving fundamental change in COPD awareness in this country. This initiative aims to help millions of people affected by COPD by focusing national attention on this common and debilitating disease.

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 driven by a powerful coalition of organizations including the American Association for Respiratory Care, Country Music Association, COPD Alliance, COPD Foundation, NASCAR®, U.S. COPD Coalition, and founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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. The Celebrity Ambassadors are paid spokespeople of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is also known as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. This disease 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 or visit our consumer website

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

COPD Alliance
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

COPD Foundation
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

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 Health 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

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Media Contacts
Emily E. Baier
Manager, Public Relations
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Public Affairs & Communications
Tel: 203-791-5997
Mobile: 203-297-1464

COPD Screener is a trademark of QualityMetric Incorporated.
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.
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