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

healthydebate.ca- 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 Doctor who Supports Patient Choice – to the Very End

Maclean’s- “I actually felt I had done the right thing for my patient.” Gordon had gotten what he wanted, and what Buchman had done simply felt to him like helping. “It was so peaceful and loving that I said, ‘This can’t be inconsistent with who I am as a doctor’.” Dying is as much a part of living as laughing is, but we clearly don’t embrace the former quite like we do the latter. Now with legislation allowing people to make a choice about when they die, patients and families and physicians are faced with making and respecting what can be difficult choices.

What we learn from the story about Dr. Sandy Buchman in Macleans, is that dying and living are well connected within the context of a person’s life. For healthcare professionals serving an individual at the end of their life, assistance in dying is merely another tool to treat a person’s pain and suffering. If providers are to respect what is important to the people they serve, then providing this assistance when a patient has made a clear choice, should be considered as following the care plan agreed to by the patient.

Its often been said that dying is no laughing [...] continue the story