Partner Spotlight: Mike Stroh – Starts With Me

Mike Stroh is a true patient leader who is fighting to improve the lives of his members and the greater mental health community. He has built Starts With Me into a champion of youth and teen mental health awareness and continues to create opportunities for young people to have their voices heard and empowered. He’s pushed his own personal limits to fight for this cause. We sat down with him to hear more about Starts With Me and the personal story that drives him.

If you’d like to make sure Mike has the resources to continue this amazing work, find out how you can support Starts With Me.

PC: What work does Starts With Me do? What’s your mission?

MS: What we are doing with Starts With Me is trying to create spaces for conversations about mental health that change lives. We do that through public speaking appearances, monthly events, and different programming in high schools and universities. We also just started a youth mental health and innovation festival for high school students called the State of Mind festival. Our mission with all of this is to create opportunities to have honest dialogues about mental health with younger people and those who interact with [...] continue the story

An historic opportunity for patient partnership

Who would have imagined that the day would come when a candidate for president of the Canadian Medical Association would proclaim in his platform, that patients need to be partners at the table to co-design the future of healthcare?

Dr. Sandy Buchman walks the talk. I’m privileged to be the patient and public representative on his campaign committee. Win or lose he lives by his principles and as a palliative care physician serving the homeless he demonstrates this everyday. Today, he presents patients with an historic opportunity to enter into a new relationship with health care professionals. Whether as individuals or as advocacy groups, the concept of partnering WITH patients has now reached a new level. While its true that patients do not vote in the CMA election, patients can have influence by bringing this to the attention of their physician carers or colleagues.

This is not about the therapeutic relationship. Its about policy that will influence the delivery of care for generations. Patients and physicians have shared interests. All stakeholders in health care need to collaborate to ensure that we have a sustainable and compassionate health care system.Dr. Sandy Buchman is breaking new ground by including a role for patients [...] continue the story

Do drug funding decisions need PR? A response This is in response to the article “Do drug funding decisions need pr?” Read the full article here.

Mark this case a clear FAIL. Health Canada and related agencies abdicated their responsibility to properly inform the public and allowed industry to manipulate and poison the biosimilar conversation. Physicians were pressured to stamp all of their biologic prescriptions with a Do Not Substitute order. Prestigious physicians wrote opinion articles disguised as evidence-based reporting that were published in medical journals advocating against substitution. And patient organizations, whether knowingly or not were parties to delivering mixed messages to patients by disseminating material and webinars produced and paid for by drug companies.

Worse still, its been reported that coercive marketing tactics by originators took advantage of many patients’ vulnerability while they were in hospital that directly interfered in and biased their treatment, resulting in the loss of their biologically naïve status and their right to choose a therapy most appropriate for them.

However, the Holy Grail of scientific evidence, such as The NOR-SWITCH Study, is now proving that biosimilars are equally effective in patients who switch.

So at this late stage of the conversation should regulators step in with a communications plan? It’s clear that fighting a [...] continue the story

The First Cheque for Starts With Me

A big milestone for us is handing over the first cheque to a group.

The first cheque signifies a chance to give organizations like Starts With Me the ability to push the limits of their impact. A chance to unleash the creativity and passion of someone like Mike Stroh to benefit the mental health community. The challenges of capacity and funding can compromise the mission of those who have chosen to better the lives of the people around them. Patient Commando’s mission is to eliminate these hurdles for Starts With Me and all of the patient groups that we support.

If you too are someone who uses prescription drugs, you can choose a pharmacy that will support your cause. Starts With Me and all of our groups are on an ambitious trek to change the future of healthcare and improve the lives of patients. You can join by choosing to use your purchasing power to have a positive effect on the diseases and conditions which have chosen to affect you.

Keep up the good work Mike!

SIGN UP and support Starts With Me.

Why Richard Branson Needs More Patient Commando

Richard Branson recently joined a growing group of venture capitalists investing in online pharmacies. The one he chose is from New York City called Capsule, and as he explains they are “tackling the consumer pharmacy experience from the ground up.” From Branson’s blog post about Capsule: It is no secret that going to the pharmacy is painful. Customers can wait on average an hour or more, almost half the time the pharmacy is out of stock, and there are unexpected costs. Add the embarrassing interactions with staff without a private place to discuss your medications with a pharmacist. Customers go to the pharmacy once a month but take medication every day. It is the most frequent healthcare experience and if it is fundamentally improved then the entire system will benefit. Capsule removes the aisles of sweets, fizzy drinks and greeting cards and focuses on prescriptions. They swap expensive retail rent for delivery, and they’re building the first brand to engender emotions in the space and to retain customers and drive better health outcomes.

His description of a pharmacy reads like an infomercial showing someone cutting tomatoes just before they’re enlightened by the magic of slap chop. Many new online pharmacy start-ups are telling us [...] continue the story