2014 Press Releases

HomeAboutNewsroomPress ReleasesPress Releases from the ATS2014 Press Releases ▶ American Thoracic Society and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Partner with Football Legend Darrell Green to Help COPD Patients Manage Their Disease
American Thoracic Society and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Partner with Football Legend Darrell Green to Help COPD Patients Manage Their Disease

(November 10, 2014) — The American Thoracic Society (ATS) today announced a new program, produced with support from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., to provide materials to educate patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) about this progressive lung disease and how it can be managed. (1)

The educational program includes a patient guidebook and 15-minute DVD featuring the stories of three COPD patients and Darrell Green, a former professional football player and Hall-of-Fame inductee who has cared for a family member with COPD. The materials, created in collaboration with leading pulmonologists across the country, are now available for ATS members for distribution at local medical professional offices and online. These materials, which were recently distributed at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, are an impactful resource for COPD Awareness Month this November.

The COPD initiative is part of a series of educational programs conducted by ATS in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. This initiative will share the organization’s expertise to educate and motivate patients to comprehensively manage their COPD, from first diagnosis and exploring treatment options to lifestyle changes and advice to share with caregivers.

“I’m excited to work with the American Thoracic Society and Sunovion to help COPD patients understand how they can manage their symptoms, stay active and improve their health,” said Darrell Green, football legend and COPD advocate. “Receiving my aunt’s COPD diagnosis was overwhelming for my family and there was a lot to figure out, but over time, we learned the best ways to help her manage the impact the disease had on her life. Now, I look forward to helping others tackle COPD and learn through this program.”

Currently, there are approximately 15 million people diagnosed in the Unites States with COPD, and this number is expected to grow. More than 50 percent of adults with low lung function are not aware that they may have the disease. COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, accountable for more than 130,000 deaths annually. (2,3)

“Although COPD cannot be cured, it can be effectively managed. As a group of medical professionals dedicated to excellence in pulmonary care, we are eager to use this opportunity to share our knowledge about COPD to help guide patients managing all stages of the disease,” said ATS President Tom Ferkol, MD. "Thanks to advances in our understanding and management of COPD, many made by ATS members, patients can live longer and have a higher quality of life."

“Sunovion recognizes that COPD patients continue to desire education and support to help them manage their disease over the course of their lives,” said Henry McMillan, Director, Respiratory Marketing. “We are proud to support this important initiative, which provides COPD patients with a much-needed educational resource to help them in their journey with the disease.”  

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About the American Thoracic Society
Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy. More information about ATS can be found at thoracic.org.

About Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Sunovion is a leading pharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing therapeutic products that advance the science of medicine in the Psychiatry, Neurology and Respiratory disease areas and improve the lives of patients and their families. Sunovion, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Marlborough, Mass. More information about Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is available at sunovion.com.

(1) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. What Is COPD? Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/. Accessed: May 9, 2014.
(2) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is COPD? Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/copd/index.htm
(3) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics Report: Deaths Final Data for 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf.