The German Bundestag took strong steps to reduce medicine supply shortages and improve healthcare delivery, including medical cannabis. All with the bill of the “Arzneimittel-Lieferengpassbekämpfungs- und Versorgungsverbesserungsgesetz (ALBVVG)” which passed on June 29. The German Federal Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies enthusiastically supports these legislative initiatives that accelerate and simplify patients’ access to this treatment.
German Budgestag’s changes around medical cannabis
A key progress in the right direction involves reducing the approval period for health insurance companies. It decreased from three weeks to just two for initial prescriptions, and from six weeks to four when combined with a medical evaluation. This reduction should lessen the patients’ frequently stressful wait times. The impact of the reduced review period on health insurance companies’ rejection rates for cost requests, however, is still unknown. Lawmakers are well aware that significantly raising rejection rates would go against what they intended.
Additionally, the Gemeinsame Bundesausschuss (G-BA), the Joint Federal Committee, can now decide which professional organisations and qualifications may eliminate the requirement for permission for initial medical cannabis prescriptions. A three-month implementation period will be allowed, and this significant decision will be made through a consultation procedure. The BPC broadly supports this effort. However, it is essential to protect general practitioners’ ability to write prescriptions. Worth is taking into account all the difficulties. These can be patients’ issues in getting specialist visits, particularly in rural and underdeveloped areas. Another can be the growing lack of medical experts. This is essential to avoid a drop in the accessibility of cannabis-based drugs for particular professional groups and qualifications.
What does it mean for medical cannabis industry?
Antonia Menzel, Deputy Chairperson and Head of the BPC’s Policy Working Group, emphasises:
“The changes introduced by the ALBVVG concerning medical cannabis mark a crucial first step, but we must view them as just the beginning. After six years of successful cannabis therapy for severely ill patients, the BPC, in collaboration with other associations, advocates for further enhancements. These include the complete abolition of the approval requirement, with simultaneous liability protection for doctors, as well as ensuring widespread access to quality-assured cannabis medications. Further adjustments to the legal framework for medical cannabis must be promptly implemented, ideally through the forthcoming Cannabis Act (CannG), which aims to decriminalise non-medical cannabis.”
The changing attitude toward medical cannabis in Germany is promising. It shows a bright future for better patient access and raising standards of treatment. As these positive developments occur, they offer hope and relief to many people.