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Pfizer Canada gives $1 million to Mount Sinai Hospital to expand program nationally fighting antibiotic misuse in serious infections

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program – first of its kind in Canada - leads to less antibiotic resistance, preserving drugs’ effectiveness

May 4, 2010 – A Mount Sinai Hospital program that has been shown to be effective in reducing the misuse of antibiotics in fighting serious infections will be expanded nationally and studied in more detail as a result of a $1-million grant to the hospital from Pfizer Canada Inc. it was announced today.

Mount Sinai and the University Health Network’s joint Antimicrobial Stewardship Program was launched in February 2009 to ensure physicians prescribe patients the right antibiotics, when they need them, to fight serious infections. The Pfizer grant will be used for further education programs and for research to better understand how to control the use of antibiotics, which will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients with bacterial infection and cost savings.

“The world is running out of antibiotics,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Mount Sinai Hospital. “We’ve been using antibiotics too freely, giving bacteria too many opportunities to learn how to resist the drugs. With drug resistance developing quickly, we need a new, safer approach to antibiotic use in Canadian hospitals. That’s what Mount Sinai is doing with Pfizer’s support.”

Dr. Morris explained the traditional approach to patients with a suspected bacterial infection is to overprescribe antibiotics, either using drugs that are ineffective against the likely actual infection or using them when the infection is not bacterial at all. This is well-intentioned, but has contributed to the development of super infections – such as C. difficile and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

Mount Sinai’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where patients are critically-ill and very susceptible to infection, was the major focus of the program in its first year. Through training, educating and collaborating with a variety of health professionals involved in the ICU, the program helped the ICU team target appropriate antibiotic use, selecting the most potentially successful medicine for each circumstance. The result was an approximate 30-percent decrease in the ICU’s antibiotic costs, resulting in a total annual savings of almost $54,000, as well as a dramatic reduction in antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in ICU patients.

The new funding from Pfizer Canada will expand the program by permitting the development of:

  • A research program with dedicated research personnel to study the science of antimicrobial use;
  • More education and knowledge-translation tools for pharmacists, physicians and other health-care providers; and
  • A web-based portal for Canadian hospitals and health-care providers that will deliver up-to-date information for all those who wants to use antimicrobials wisely.

“At Pfizer, we recognize the importance of investing in programs that encourage the appropriate use of medicines, particularly antibiotics,” said Dr. Olga Tarasova, Director, Medical Affairs of the Specialty Care Business Unit at Pfizer Canada. “We are proud to help fund the expansion of this innovative initiative, the research involved and the better outcomes that will result for patients with serious bacterial infections now, and in the future”.

“The program’s new web-based portal will become a one-stop shop for other hospitals that want to establish an antimicrobial stewardship program,” said Dr. Morris. “We will have business templates, relevant research, educational tools, and a summary of best practices we’ve learned. Pfizer’s support will have a national impact on patients’ lives. An antimicrobial stewardship program of this scope and funding is a first in Canada.”

About Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital is an internationally recognized, 472-bed acute care academic health sciences centre affiliated with the University of Toronto. It is known for excellence in the provision of compassionate patient care, innovative education, and leading-edge research. Mount Sinai’s Centres of Excellence include Women's and Infants' Health; Surgery and Oncology; Acute and Chronic Medicine; Laboratory Medicine and Infection Control, and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. For more information about Mount Sinai Hospital, please visit us online at

About Pfizer Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company.  The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world’s best-known consumer products.  Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.  We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life.  Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy.  To learn more about Pfizer’s More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit  To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit

Media contacts:

Melissa McDermott
Mount Sinai Hospital
416-586-4800 ext. 8306

Safia Généreux-Khali
Pfizer Canada