When Louis Boivin, President and owner of Groupe Pharmaceutique Boivin, first acquired Canadian pharmaceutical company Duchesnay, the mission of the family-run business was simply to distribute over-the-counter and prescription medications to pharmacies throughout Quebec.
However, in the late 1980s, a member of the Boivin family experienced a very difficult pregnancy that had a significant impact on her health and well-being. Although her physician had prescribed a medication to treat her condition, her pharmacist refused to fill the prescription due to a lack of reliable scientific evidence regarding the its safety for use during pregnancy.
Seeing how the lack of information about the safe use of medications in pregnancy meant that many pregnant women were suffering needlessly, the Boivin family decided to change their company’s mission. The company then shifted its focus to ensuring that pregnant women who required pharmacological treatment, whether for pre-existing or pregnancy-related conditions, had access to reliable medical information and to medications whose use had been proven safe both for them and for their unborn or newborn babies.
The company officially assumed its new mission with the founding of the Louis-Boivin Family Pharmaceutical Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal (at Sainte-Justine Hospital for Children), and the support of the Motherisk research and information centre at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
Thus, Duchesnay became the first pharmaceutical company dedicated to safeguarding the health of pregnant women and their babies.
Since then, Duchesnay has devoted a significant portion of its annual budget to funding research into drugs that are safe to use during pregnancy. The company manufactures and distributes these medications and provides the medical community with the current, evidence-based data they need to prescribe the optimal pharmacotherapy to pregnant women while protecting their unborn babies.
Duchesnay today: A company dedicated to women’s health at every stage of life
Today, Duchesnay continues to evolve as a research-based pharmaceutical company whose primary goal is to improve women's health and quality of life during pregnancy and breastfeeding, while reducing the number of birth defects and minimizing the impact of maternal medical issues on newborns.
But Duchesnay’s commitment to women’s health does not stop at pregnancy and breastfeeding. Thus, Duchesnay has broadened its portfolio of products to offer safe and effective therapeutic options that meet the health and quality of life needs of women and their family members at different stages of their lives.
In addition to ensuring our compliance with every law and regulation governing the pharmaceutical industry, Duchesnay abides by the highest internal standards of integrity, excellence and innovation.
These values are what have earned Duchesnay the respect, trust and support of stakeholders in the medical community worldwide.
Every decision we make is guided by our unwavering commitment to honesty, openness and transparency in everything we do.
Ensuring the quality, effectiveness and safety of every product we sell is our number one priority.
Duchesnay is proud of the products we offer, but we never stop innovating. We continuously invest in research and development to create new and better treatment options to improve women’s health and quality of life at every stage.
Duchesnay and its employees are deeply committed to giving back to our community. That is why we are actively involved with several charitable organizations, including la Fondation OLO (nutritional supplementation for underprivileged women and toddlers), Moisson Laurentides (local food bank) and The Cure Foundation (breast cancer research).
Duchesnay makes every effort to minimize its environmental footprint. We support various recycling programs and are proud members of the Health Products Stewardship Association (Medications Return Programs/drug disposal), Duchesnay has implemented a variety of ecological initiatives, including opting for electronic rather than printed formats, prioritizing the use of eco-responsible materials and systems in our construction and renovation projects, and the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system at our facilities.
Perinatal health initiatives supported by Duchesnay
Duchesnay supports a number of perinatal health initiatives involving university research and education for healthcare professionals in the field. To provide women and their families with clear and reliable information about how to help ensure a health pregnancy, we also support organizations and media aimed at non-professionals.
Key organizations supported by Duchesnay
The SOGC was initially founded to promote physician education, research and excellence in care. Its interests have broadened to include global women’s health, advocacy, Aboriginal health, public education and patient safety in obstetrics and gynecology.
Created by the Ste-Justine UHC and the Université de Montréal, the Louis-Boivin Family Chair in Pharmacy focuses primarily on university research into pharmacotherapy during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The family of Louis Boivin, the founder of Duchesnay, has taken great pride in funding the Chair since 1995.
The Chair is involved in four types of activities: information for healthcare professionals, OB/GYN pharmaceuticals, research and production of the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Pocket Guide to medications and other commonly used products.
This is the largest Canadian foundation that funds research projects aimed at improving women’s health at every stage of life. The CFWH also funds training programs for healthcare professionals in developing countries, as well as medical residencies, in an effort to improve maternal and neonatal health.
Duchesnay supports initiatives developed by universities, healthcare professional associations, patient associations and media specializing in women’s health.
June Spina Bifida Awareness Month activities (French article), which encourages women to take folic acid before and during their pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects
Publication of pregnancy-related educational materials on the Mother for Life Web portal
Residencies caring for women in developing countries
The Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health awards two Duchesnay fellowships every year to obstetrics/gynecology residents who opt to do a rotation in a healthcare center in a developing country.
These residents are eager to share their knowledge and learn from the healthcare professionals and patients they encounter during their residencies. In recent years, fellowships have involved residencies in Kenya and Angola.
The selection committee for these fellowships is made up of representatives of the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health (CFWH), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Association of Academic Professionals in Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada (APOG).