Health insurers against the cost of cannabis therapies
For a few days now, certain seriously ill people in Germany have been able to receive cannabis on prescription. The law, which came into force on March 10, provides for full coverage of health insurance. But the health insurance companies are resisting.
Prescription cannabis for seriously ill patients
On March 10, a new law came into force in Germany that makes it easier for certain seriously ill patients to receive cannabis from a doctor on prescription. Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe said: “Seriously ill people need the best possible care. This includes that the costs of cannabis as medicine for the seriously ill are covered by their health insurance if they cannot be helped effectively. ”However, the health insurance companies apparently do not really agree with the assumption of costs and are now resisting it.
Range of services of the German health insurance companies
According to a report by the dpa news agency, German health insurance companies doubt that they will cover the costs of cannabis therapies in the long term.
The law assumes monthly treatment costs of an average of 540 euros.
A spokesman for the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance (GKV) said to the German press agency: "There is no proof of effectiveness for the permanent and regular benefits in statutory health insurance."
It is therefore right that the federal government has commissioned a new study from the Federal Opium Agency, which should further investigate the effects of cannabis.
According to the association, it will show in a few years' time whether cannabis therapy will be part of the range of services offered by statutory health insurance in the long term.
Expected improvement in symptoms or course of the disease
According to a statement by the federal government, other therapeutic options must be exhausted so that patients who are seriously ill and suffering from pain can receive cannabis medicines on prescription.
"Or the treating doctor decides in individual cases that therapeutic alternatives are not appropriate," says the statement. "In addition, cannabis medicines can only be prescribed if the intake is likely to improve the symptoms or the course of the disease."
The active ingredient in marijuana can help with multiple sclerosis and the effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
Who cannabis helps exactly
Patients who are entitled to medical hemp and who want the costs to be reimbursed by the health insurance company must declare their willingness to participate in an accompanying research. This is to provide data on who exactly helps cannabis.
“This research is important because there is not yet sufficient, scientifically reliable data on the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis. However, guaranteed effectiveness is normally a requirement for statutory health insurance (GKV) to cover pharmaceutical costs, ”writes the federal government.
Therefore, the Federal Opium Agency wants to analyze data on therapies within five years to accompany the new cannabis law.
Scientific evidence of health benefits
Even if the scientific evidence is not so numerous, there are still some studies that have shown the health benefits of cannabis.
Older studies have shown that hemp ingredients can inhibit inflammation and have a relaxing effect. It is also known that THC can relieve cramps in multiple sclerosis patients.
The effect against pain caused by nerve damage is also documented. Cannabis agents can also reduce the serious side effects of chemotherapy.
In addition, only two studies were published last year that indicate that cannabis can prevent an Alzheimer's outbreak and can be helpful for migraines. (ad)