Cannabis therapy: cost coverage by health insurance companies secured

The German Pain League e. V. (DSL) and the German Society for Pain Medicine e. V. (DGS) welcome the unanimous adoption of the law on the use of cannabis as medicine in the German Bundestag. Afterwards in the future seriously ill patients can be supplied at expense of the legal health insurance with Cannabis medicines.

The present law not only simplifies the prescription of cannabis as medicine, but in many cases also ensures the amption of costs by the health insurance companies. Thus, health insurance companies may refuse to reimburse the costs associated with the prescription of cannabis-containing medicines only in justified exceptional cases, and at the same time will be obliged to make the decision on the amption of costs within five weeks (in the case of patients under SAPV within three days) from the date of application.

"Hereby falls presumably starting from March 2017 for many humans with chronic therapy-difficult pain the crucial hurdle for the medical use of Cannabis-containing medicines and we may hope that with this parliamentary group-spreading decision of the German Bundestag both the frustrating waiting for a decision over the amption of costs and the high number at rejecting notices finally an end has", summarizes PD Dr. Michael A. uberall, President of the German Pain League e.V. (DSL) and vice president of the German Society for Pain Medicine e.V. (DGS), his expectations regarding. of the positive effects of this law together.

"It is also gratifying," continues uberall, "that the recommendations for change formulated in the course of the hearings in the Health Committee as well as in numerous written statements on the part of patient and physician organizations have been taken up by the parliamentary groups of the governing coalition and for the most part have actually been implemented in the text of the law that has now been passed. This positive experience and the constructive dialogue gives us hope that we can also enter into discussion with the responsible health policy makers regarding other concerns of people with chronic pain and jointly develop patient-oriented solutions."
However, according to the amendment, home cultivation of cannabis remains prohibited in Germany, AFP reports. The new regulation will enable seriously ill patients to obtain dried cannabis flowers and cannabis extracts from pharmacies on a doctor's prescription under certain conditions. In exceptional cases, patients should also be entitled to finished medicinal products with the active ingredients dronabinol and nabilone that have been approved abroad.

A state-controlled cultivation in Germany by a cannabis agency is planned. Until this is guaranteed, the supply of medical hemp is to be ensured by imports. Patients are still not allowed to grow cannabis themselves. The legislator justifies this with the "danger of insufficient quality and safety control possibilities".

An accompanying study is to gain further insights into the effects of cannabis. To this end, doctors will in future transmit data on diagnosis, therapy, dose and side effects, for example, anonymously to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).
Cannabis is used in medicine for various diseases, for example, against nausea and to increase appetite in cancer and AIDS patients, rheumatism and spastic pain in multiple sclerosis. Some substances are thought to have anticonvulsant and analgesic effects, for example.

Until now, this was associated with high costs for patients. Permission to purchase cannabis products was rare, health insurance companies paid so far only in individual cases.

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