When medical marijuana was legalized in Germany just over a year ago, authorities may not have acknowledged that demand will increase. The need for medicinal marijuana has been much higher than expected. Therefore, the newly established industry is still checking how to meet the demand of its patients. Usually, the new sector is essential for the future of a new medical marijuana program, but due to complication from high demand for medical cannabis in Germany, it seems that the recent humps have led to more problems.
In March 2017, the medical marijuana program in Germany, and the government highly minimized the demand for the plant. Insurance companies are struggling to cover the prescription cost as the number of approved patients continuously grow.
A German-based insurance company, called Techniker-Krankenkasse, following the University of Bremen, said that the number of eligible patients who have demanded to be refunded for their medical marijuana has risen as of February 2018.
A few years ago, insurers would only sporadically cover the costs of medical marijuana, but due to the new law in Germany, they are always needed to refund patients for the full price.
On the other hand, the different medical marijuana treatments in Germany have turned out to be much costlier in contrast to other conventional therapies. Patients are required to pay vast sums of money for Herbal remedies, which tend to more expensive than alternative medications.
This hasn’t inevitably hindered insurance companies from verifying its applications. In 2017, Techniker-Krankenkasse approved most of its medical marijuana applications, which resulted in vast sums of money.
Apart from ripping insurance companies, the high demand for medicinal marijuana has led to a shortage in the product.
During the start of the program, there were only four established companies in Germany which could import and supply medicinal cannabis to its patients. Among one of the four companies is Cannamedical Pharma, who is in charge of about all the medicinal marijuana provided in Germany. However, Cannamedical has found difficulties meeting the increasing demand for cannabis in Germany.
According to the sales manager of Cannamedical Niklas Kouparanis, the shortage in supply was a severe problem for them and for the patients who depend on the drug. Currently, there is just one cannabis producer in all of Europe, found in the Netherlands. This producer is meant to supply cannabis to the whole Europe which is unthinkable.
Germany is continually finding ways to fix their medical marijuana program and continue evaluating the process of weeding outpatients who need marijuana prescriptions which are not adequately qualified.
According to the manager of Techniker-Krankenkasse, Jens Baas, any additional benefit of marijuana must be justified before the health insurance company pays for it.
The newly implemented program has not succeeded in meeting the demands of its patients. For instance, the recreational marijuana industry in California has also had its fair share of issues when it comes to maintaining its supply. Issues in Germany are worrying, but most of their problems must be fixed when the medical marijuana program starts progressing sooner or later.