Jerry March | COO, New York Ketamine Infusions
May 25, 2021
Jerry March | COO, New York Ketamine Infusions
Jerry March is the COO of New York Ketamine Infusions. He is a Harvard Business School graduate and serial entrepreneur who has founded and operated multiple companies in several industries, now including NY Ketamine Infusions.To date, New York Ketamine Infusions has helped more patients than any other ketamine treatment provider, having treated over 4,000 patients for major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and neuropathic pain. New York Ketamine Infusions is one of leading providers of Ketamine treatments in the world having delivered over 50,000 infusions since their inception.
On April 5th, NY Ketamine Infusions entered into a LOI with Myconic Capital Corp. (CSE:MEDI) to sell 100% of its clinic operations
What made you personally excited about psychedelics and ketamine?
Interestingly enough, I come from a non-medical background. I’m serial entrepreneur and have worked in a number of different industries, but medicine has always been intriguing to me. Several years ago, our family was touched by the suicide of a very close friend of one of my children, and a number of people close to me had been struggling with depression. At about that time, I happened to read Michael Pollan’s original article in the New Yorker magazine about these amazingly successful trials being run at Johns Hopkins and NYU using psilocybin to treat anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients. The results of these trials were so astounding I wanted to get involved, to help figure out a way to introduce ketamine and psychedelics to the general public and to potentially help millions of depression sufferers and ultimately save lives.
What made you want to build NY Ketamine Infusions?
Well…after reading the Pollan article, I did a deep dive into all things psychedelic and spoke with as many of the researchers as I could. Their findings were amazing, but these were all Schedule 1 drugs and, at the time, seemed very unlikely to make it to market anytime soon… except ketamine. Since ketamine had already been FDA approved and had been used successfully for decades as an anesthetic, it could be prescribed off-label to treat depression, PTSD, suicidality and chronic neuropathic pain, among other things.
At the time, only about 30 clinicians in the United States were using it to treat these types of patients, but they were transforming peoples’ lives. I was introduced to Dr. Glen Brooks of NY Ketamine Infusions by the head of the Ketamine Advocacy Network, who told me that Dr. Brooks was “the best there was.” And he is. The problem was that he was a sole practitioner, operating out of a sublet space without any staff or help to speak of, and no time to do anything but treat patients. I figured that by bringing my business skills to Dr. Brooks’ practice, together we could expand his facilities and reach many more patients.
How do the treatments at NY Ketamine Infusions differ from other ketamine treatment options?
Each patient’s situation is different so we treat each patient as an individual and tailor their treatment to their specific needs. This applies to both our depression, PTSD and mood disorder patients as well as those battling chronic neuropathic pain. Our nursing staff is the best there is, and they handle every patient visit with skill, caring and understanding. Being comfortable in the setting while being treated is critical to final results, and we make sure each patient gets proper care and attention. Patients are given comfortable, private rooms and they are allowed to stay in our offices under medical supervision for as long as they feel is necessary. As you can tell, we’re very patient focused.
What treatment options has NYKI focused on and what’s driven you to pursue other options outside of treatment-resistant depression?
We’ve focused almost exclusively on depression, PTSD, anxiety and chronic neuropathic pain. That said, we do have some patients who come to us with other mood disorders, migraines, eating disorders and similar conditions, and we have found that we can successfully treat these conditions in some patients. However, ketamine is not for everyone and we consult extensively with every patient prior to starting treatment to make sure they qualify and that we can help them.
What treatment options have you found ketamine to be most effective in?
We’ve had terrific results with both treatment-resistant depression and chronic pain, conditions that haven’t been helped by any other medications, treatments or therapies.
Why have you decided to focus on intravenous delivery as your primary delivery method?
We firmly believe that IV ketamine treatments are the Gold Standard for patients, so we’ve decided to focus on IV rather than other treatment options like intramuscular or intranasal. While Spravato, which is intranasal, has received FDA approval, the results we’ve seen in our practice and in other IV practices, as well as in clinical trials, have been far superior. Delivering ketamine via IV is much more precise and controllable. Ketamine treatment is an art as much as a science, and it’s not a cookie cutter procedure. Some patients require more medication during a treatment, others less. If a patient is being brought too far too fast or they become anxious or uncomfortable, we can immediately slow the speed of delivery or decrease the dose. Absorption rates via IV are 100%, which is not the case with intramuscular injections or intranasal sprays. All of the medication gets to where it’s supposed to go immediately.
In the hands of an experienced provider like Dr. Brooks, we believe it is far superior to other methods of delivery, and we’ve seen phenomenal success with over 70% of our patients showing positive results.
You have a very strong team of doctors at NYKI and the largest individual practice in the world. How does NYKI intend to grow and expand their footprint with more clinics, research and treatment options?
Yes, we’re very lucky. In our single NYC facility, we’ve treated over 4,000 individual patients and have delivered over 50,000 infusions. But we’re all about slow growth and are only interested in expanding if we can continue to give the best patient care. While it’s great to expand, it’s only worthwhile if you can maintain quality and good results. That said, we do want to treat as many people who suffer from these conditions as possible to help them reclaim their lives.
We’ve recently opened a second location in Long Island (Melville, NY) to make treatment more accessible to more patients. Dr. Brooks is able to manage and run both facilities for now. As we grow, we intend for every doctor, NP, PA and RN to train directly under Dr. Brooks, and learn his methods and protocols before opening a new facility to expand our footprint and treat more depression and pain patients.
Will NY Ketamine expand beyond New York and your clinic in Spain? What’s next?
We plan on helping as many people as possible. It’s very difficult living with the pain of depression or PTSD, and chronic pain can be unbearable. Many of our patients come to us when they’ve lost hope. We give them that hope and, for many, we alleviate their suffering and allow them to move forward and live productive lives. Of course, if we can do that, we would like to bring our services to other locations…and we plan to. But we can’t lose focus on quality care in the process. Currently, we’re looking at a number of options that will allow us to expand both domestically and in Europe, but we’ll do so only so long as we can maintain quality care.
What do you see the future of psychedelic medicines being and what will their impact be on healthcare as a whole?
Psychedelics are unbelievably exciting and, within a few years, I expect them to have a tremendous impact on the entire mental health field. MDMA and psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy will play a major healing role, both for patients suffering with conditions like PTSD and depression, as well as for “well” patients who require a “reset” or “tune up”.
The fact psychedelics appear to be effective yet for the most part non-toxic and non-addictive opens up tremendous opportunities. As we all know, nothing new has been introduced in the mental health field for decades, so the impact these medicines will have will be enormous, assuming future trials match current results, which I fully expect them to. I do think they will revolutionize the way we provide mental health care in the future.
What do you believe is the most important thing for people to understand about the future of psychedelics as medicine?
It’s all very exciting and the potential is limitless, but we need to make sure we do things right. It’s wonderful that early results are so promising, and it’s great that we can provide hope and help to many people suffering from very difficult conditions, but we need to make sure we are moving in this direction for the right reasons and in the right way. Psychedelics can be “fun”, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about helping people who, in many cases, have very difficult problems.
These new medicines need to be properly, though not overly, regulated to avoid problems of abuse. Business models and regulations need to be developed that allow cost effective treatment to reach the masses so that this doesn’t only become accessible to the very few who can afford it. We need to balance the needs of the patients with the desire for profitability, and not focus on profits at the expense of helping those in need.
Look…nothing in the mental health field in recent years has shown the promise of psychedelic medicine. All of these wonderful things I’ve mentioned are achievable and I think, within a few years, we’ll see psychedelics make a huge impact on mental health worldwide.
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