Czech Republic celebrates: 90% reimbursement of medical cannabis!

Therapeutic cannabis has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2010, but it was not covered by health insurance, which made its availability much more difficult.

Already early this year, the Ministry of Health promised up to 90% reimbursement of products containing medical cannabis from public health insurance. Last Tuesday this proposal passed through Parliament. From the New Year, patients will only pay hundreds of crowns per month instead of the current amount of thousands.

A few months ago, the Minister of Health said Mgr. Adam Vojtěch: “We realize that medical cannabis for some patients, such as those receiving disability pensions, may be inaccessible.”

“Patients therefore resort to illegal home-grown cannabis of unknown quality, which, on the other hand, may harm their health. That is why we want to contribute up to 90% of the sales price of cannabis in the pharmacy from public health insurance. ”

"As a result of our proposal, the amount of the supplement will be comparable to that for the treatment of chronic diseases."

Health insurance in the Czech Republic

The insurance reimbursement will cover a maximum of 30g of medical cannabis per month.

“We consider this to be sufficient, because today, one patient consumes an average of up to 10 grams per month. This was confirmed by the survey conducted among prescribers. However, in exceptional cases, a reimbursement beyond this limit will be possible on the basis of a proposal by the attending physician after approval by the reviewer, ”explains the Minister of Health.

The price of medical cannabis will be newly managed by the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL).

Positive alternative

“Cannabis treatment is clearly an alternative treatment that involves a small number of patients. We welcome the proposal of the Ministry that these people, to whom cannabis can really help in the treatment, will be paid almost the whole amount, ”said the chairman of the ČSL JEP Štěpán Svačina.

In the Czech Republic, medical cannabis is available from two sources. The first is grown in the Czech Republic, which is offered by SUKL and the second is imported.

“Cannabis in the Czech Republic is in sufficient supply for patients,” added SUKL director Irena Storova.

Cannabis use is growing

In 2018, 447 patients were prescribed therapeutic cannabis, three times more than the previous year. In addition, the number of registered doctors who can prescribe cannabis has increased. In March 2019, according to SÚKL records, there were 74.

Storová adds: ,, Registration of doctors is very simple. The doctor will only send us a request in writing, by e-mail or via a data box, which is usually handled by us within a maximum of two weeks. ”

Cannabis consumption is constantly increasing. In 2018, 4,800g of therapeutic cannabis was delivered. That's almost four times more than in 2017 and twice as much as it was in 2016. "On average, it treats 67 patients a month with an average consumption of 6.3g a month," Storova said.

About 90% of cannabis use is related to the treatment of chronic pain. In the curtain is multiple sclerosis with four percent.

“I see cannabis as beneficial in patients with intractable chronic pain. Although it is necessary to emphasize that there is no clinical study conducted in the Czech Republic, which would prove its absolute effectiveness on chronic pain. In practice, there is a great interest of people in prescribing medical cannabis without having problems for its indication. They just want cannabis and not classic drugs, ”said Jiří Kozák, Chairman of the Society for the Study and Treatment of Pain.

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