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Program Introduced to Create Awareness of Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Women.

SAN DIEGO--(BW HealthWire)--Aug. 26, 1999--

A nationwide program aimed at the early detection of a woman's risk of developing heart disease was jointly introduced today by Women First HealthCare, Inc. (Nasdaq:WFHC) and Cholestech Corporation (Nasdaq:CTEC). Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association. A recent study released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) indicated that 65% of women do not know that cardiovascular disease is their major cause of death.

The new program provides testing of total cholesterol and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels in female patients visiting their gynecologists. High cholesterol levels indicate a major risk factor for heart attacks and long term cardiovascular disease in women. The testing, which takes less than 5 minutes using the technology developed by Cholestech, will initially be conducted in more than 300 gynecologist's offices in the U.S. It is expected that more than 30,000 midlife women will be tested over the next few months.

According to market research, 54% of women view their obstetrician/gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) as their primary care physician, yet research shows that very few of these women are being tested or evaluated for their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. "We believe that this program will help Ob/Gyn's incorporate heart disease prevention into their practices and help women live healthier lives," said David F. Hale, President and CEO of Women First HealthCare. "Of the more than 30,000 women who will be tested in this program, we expect approximately 40% to have high cholesterol levels and at least one other risk factor for heart disease," added Hale.

In addition, women can go online to review their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and get the latest information on cardiovascular disease in women by visiting the company's internet site or by calling the Midlife Healthline toll-free at (877) 4WOMEN1 (877/496-6361). is the premier site for information about women's health care issues at midlife, and is guided by the Women First Health Advisory Board of experts in women's health.

"We are pleased to be working with Women First HealthCare in this very important women's initiative," said Warren E. Pinckert II, President and CEO of Cholestech Corporation. "The Cholestech L.D.X(R) System enables a woman's Ob/Gyn to assess her risk of heart disease and initiate preventive measures, almost immediately."

The Cholestech L.D.X is a telephone-sized device that can conduct multiple simultaneous diagnostic tests from a single drop of blood and provide results, in less than five minutes, that are as accurate as similar tests performed in clinical and hospital labs.

Cholestech Corporation manufactures and markets their proprietary system to healthcare, wellness, and disease management professionals for use in preventative care testing. The Cholestech L.D.X System is positioned to benefit from the increasing emphasis on preventive health care and disease management. Cholestech's portfolio of CLIA-waived products is designed to offer efficient and economic diagnostic screening and therapeutic monitoring options that will ultimately enable people to lead longer, healthier, and more active lives. For more information about Cholestech, please visit our website at

Women First HealthCare, Inc. develops and markets pharmaceutical and self care products, and has established educational programs and support systems for midlife women and their clinicians. Among its pharmaceutical products, Women First markets Pravachol(R) (pravastatin sodium), a cholesterol-lowering drug, to Ob/Gyn's and associated nurse practitioners and physician's assistants through its co-promotion agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Guided by its Health Advisory Board, consisting of experts in women's health care, Women First has developed "A Better Way(TM)", which is designed to help improve the health of midlife women. Women First HealthCare, Inc. is based in San Diego, California and can be visited on the Internet at

Note to Editors: Cholestech L.D.X(R) System is a registered trademark of Cholestech Corporation.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation

Reform Act of 1995

Women First HealthCare, Inc. and Cholestech Corporation have included in this press release certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 concerning Women First's and Cholestech's business, operations and financial condition. The words or phrases "can be", "expects", "may affect", "may depend", "believes", "estimate", "project", and similar words and phrases are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and both Women First and Cholestech caution you that any forward-looking information provided by or on behalf of Women First or Cholestech is not a guarantee of future performance. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, some of which are beyond Women First's or Cholestech's control, in addition to those discussed in Women First's and Cholestech's other press releases, public filings and statements by Women First's and Cholestech's management, including (i) the competitive nature of the health care industry, (ii) changes in domestic and foreign economic and market conditions, (iii) the effect of federal, state and foreign regulation on Women First's or Cholestech's business, (iv) failure of Women First or Cholestech, its vendors or other third parties to achieve Year 2000 compliance, and (v) the effect of any future acquisitions. All such forward-looking statements are currently only as of the date on which such statements were made. Neither Women First nor Cholestech undertakes any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which any such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Actual results may be affected by additional factors set forth in both Companies' Securities and Exchange commission filings including Women First's most recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and Cholestech's most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 26, 1999
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