By Emily Ledger
Last week, the Czech government announced plans to subsidise the cost of medical Cannabis from public health insurance. Medical Cannabis patients will be reimbursed for up to 90% of the cost of their prescriptions.
Medical Cannabis was legalised in the Czech Republic in 2010. However, access to the medicine has not been easy. Cannabis-based medicinal products are not currently covered by health insurance, and the cost is not regulated. This makes it difficult for patients to access the products at a sustainable price.
Following the proposal by the government earlier this year to reimburse up to 90% of the cost to patients, the bill passed through parliament last week. The new bill is expected to
come into effect in the new year.
The Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch, recently tweeted:
“From the New Year, patients with chronic pain will pay a maximum of a few hundreds a month against the current thousands, as with other medicines.”
The majority of medical Cannabis companies in the Czech Republic use the medicine to treat chronic pain. In fact, it is thought that approximately 90% of patients use medical Cannabis for these patients.
Of the remaining patients, 4% use the medicine to treat Multiple Sclerosis.
The new subsiduary rate will apply to up to 30g of medical Cannabis per month. There are also plans for the State Institute for Drug Control to regulate the price of the medicine, and for surcharges to be capped.
The government believes that the proposed limit to the proposal will be sufficient to completely cover patients in the country. Minister Vojtěch explained: “We consider this to be sufficient because today one patient consumes on average up to 10 g per month. This was confirmed by the survey conducted among prescribers.”
However, for patients who require medicines over this limit, there will be the opportunity to receive reimbursement. This would involve a proposal by the attending physician and approval by a medical examiner.