Criticism of the cannabis lawThe struggle for cannabis
In March the policy was celebrated: cannabis on prescription – a breakthrough! But many patients are dissatisfied. The funds do not want to pay the costs, the pharmacies are struggling with supply bottlenecks. The fight for hemp is in full swing.
By Christin Jordan, SWR
Magdalena Sebelka has epilepsy, ADHD and severe asthma. She has already tried a few medications – helped only cannabis.
As with the 10th of March, cannabis can be prescribed for prescription and bought at the pharmacy. The new law makes it possible for the funds to pay the costs. As far as the theory. Practically, around 1000 people in Germany have already been allowed to buy and consume cannabis products in pharmacies with an exception. But they had to pay it out of their own pocket.
In severe diseases such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis or pain patients, medical cannabis is used for therapy. The hemp blossoms are imported, certified cultivating plants are available in Canada, the USA and the Netherlands.
Fighting with the health insurance companies
The young woman has an exception license, issued by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. So far she has received a prescription from the doctor and has been able to buy and consume hemp flowers – at her own expense. Your hope in the law was great. Then the disappointment: your doctor prescribes her the drug, but she must continue to pay for it herself. The checkout refuses to take over the costs.
According to the law, the first regulation has to be submitted and approved by a health insurance company at the health insurance – but this is rejected by Sebelkas Kasse. It is not proven that cannabis is the only active ingredient that helps her.
Many affected parties also report in Internet forums about the struggle with the coffers. Your guess: It’s about money. Because cannabino therapy is expensive – an average patient costs around 9000 euros per year.
Cannabis as a last resort
The leading association of statutory health insurance funds rejects the charge of wanting to save costs. The funds would have to adhere to the law whereby cannabis products can only be used as cash-in-service if no other therapy helps.
In addition, since the entry into force of the Act on 10th March, 1000 cost-taking has already been approved by the funds, so the number of legal cannabis users has risen significantly.
But why do people with an old exception permit like Magda Sebelka not automatically claim to be covered by the health insurance funds provided for by the new law? According to Speaker Florian Lanz, there is no legal basis for this. There was no provision for the existence of existing populations for the old patients; every regulation had to be examined separately, which could also reject cash applications – as in many other therapies.
Legal, but expensive
One gram of cannabis flowers costs 25 euros in the pharmacy – a lot of money for those who are self-paying. Sebelka reports that since the introduction of the law the price of medical cannabis products has almost doubled. The reason was that the pharmacists had to calculate the goods according to the German drug regulation. The German Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations rejects this – cannabis has always had to be treated as a medicinal product like any other medicinal plant. “I can not understand the alleged price increases,” explains deputy press singer Ursula Sellerberg.
But patients who have accepted the cost of taking over the costs can still not breathe. Medical cannabis is currently scarce, the foreign suppliers can not meet the needs. “Of ten cannabis medicines, I can only offer one at the moment”, says the chief pharmacist Martin Schmidt. He can only provide his regular customers – if new cash patients with cannabis recipes came, they probably went empty. Schmidt sees the fault with the policy: “The law was a quick shot, one had to have thought about where these quantities of medical cannabis products should come from.”
A quick solution is not in sight. Germany wants to build a state cannabis agency and control cannabis cultivation – however only two years. Until then, Magda Sebelka may perhaps consume at the expense of the cash box cannabis – she complains in an urgent case against the decision.