The Ministry of Health proposes that health insurance companies finance 90% of the price of medical marijuana
Medical cannabis should be covered by 90% by insurance companies in the Czech Republic. This is due to an amendment to the Medicines Law, which approved its final reading in the Chamber of Deputies. The bill now goes to the Senate, and if passed, it must be signed by the president before it can take effect. The legislative process will not take effect until 2020.
The bill will also involve the obligation for doctors to share data on patients using prescribed marijuana with government agencies. Will patients have the right to prevent doctors from entering the data in the medication data base? Pirates and civic democrats believe that doctors should have to actively ask for the patient’s consent.
The leader of the pirate party, Ivan Bartoš, believes that data on cannabis-related patients could be used by employers, which could have a very negative impact on job seekers.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech expressed his disagreement with the position of the pirate party leader, ensuring that only doctors and pharmacists would have that information.
Adam Vojtech added that cannabis drug data imply patient safety as traps with multiple prescriptions would be avoided or even detect possible negative interactions. Doctors in the Czech Republic can prescribe medical cannabis for patients with multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer or chronic pain that cannot be treated with other medicines. Each patient can be prescribed a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis per month. One gram of medical cannabis costs $ 7.36.
Every day there are more patients taking medicinal cannabis in the Czech Republic. Still the number is still low. There were 665 patients in May of this year, and doctors have prescribed just over 5 kilograms of cannabis so far this year. Last year there were 447 patients and 4.8 kilograms of cannabis were prescribed. Medical cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013, but supplies have been a problem as a result of the lack of suppliers and the complex bureaucracy. There are a limited number of qualified doctors to prescribe medical cannabis and patients cannot grow their own plants.
The use of cannabis without a prescription is illegal, although since 2010 the consumption of a small amount of dried marijuana flowers or live plants for personal consumption has been decriminalized. Having larger amounts can lead to a one-year jail sentence and the penalties for selling cannabis are up to 18 years in prison.
Adam Vojtech says that if you compare the number of patients in 2017 and 2018, you can see that the number tripled last year. It is clear that medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular and thanks to the participation of insurance companies, more and more patients would have access to this natural medicine.
If this measure is approved, insurers would have to dedicate between 4 and 6 million Euros a year to the payment of medical marijuana.
Medical cannabis was legalized in the Czech Republic six years ago. However, in other countries, in which such a law has been in force during the same time, many more patients have been registered.
The Minister of Health says that they have done everything possible to educate doctors about the effects and thus encourage the use of medical marijuana in treatment. But we must admit that the number of patients is low and we must work to make access to medical cannabis easier.
Doctors who want to prescribe medical marijuana to patients must have a license provided by the State Institute for Drug Control.
Her director, Irena Storová, says that limited access is not the fault of the Institute. Storová claims to have done everything that the law requires and that everything is duly completed.
Approving the proposal of the Minister of Health for insurance companies to subsidize 90% of the price of medical cannabis is a process that will take 1 year to come true.
At present, one gram of medical marijuana costs more than seven dollars in pharmacies and a maximum of 30 grams can be purchased per person per month. Currently in the Czech Republic about 67 patients using medicinal cannabis are registered every month, with an average consumption of around six grams.