Growing Medical Marijuana Prescription Reimbursements in Germany

by Shanti
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Germany’s medical marijuana market grew in 2020 yet again. Reimbursements for medicinal marijuana prescriptions show Germany’s robust market has plenty of room for growth. 

In spite of COVID and lockdowns, 2020 was a good year for the marijuana industry as a whole. Most notably:

  1. The United Nations declassified marijuana. Based on WHO research there IS a recognizable medical benefit for cannabis. Prior classification in the category of the most dangerous substance was too harsh. Declassification by the UN opens new doors for cannabis prescriptions worldwide.
  2. France implemented its first marijuana experiment. Its purpose? To collect data on aspects of medical marijuana prescription use.
  3. Several countries and US states joined the marijuana rush for green gold. Now, these countries and states are getting ready for big profits and taxes.

At the same time, Germany’s medical marijuana market moved full speed ahead.

Germany’s Medicinal Marijuana Prescription

The German medical marijuana industry is strong. Its strength can be attributed to the country’s legal framework. Only medical marijuana is legal in Germany. To access the herb or its products a patient must see a physician. Under the law, any physician can prescribe marijuana. But some physicians shy away from prescribing cannabis. Education on marijuana therapy and prescription would help more patients have access.

Medical marijuana prescriptions in Germany can come in a tincture, oil, extract, or flower. The physician determines the ratio of THC and CBD for every prescription. Prescriptions get tested then filled by the pharmacist. Every cannabis product sold must be tested by the pharmacist before the patient can have it.

For most of the German population, the cost of the prescription is paid for by the State. Payments are made through reimbursement to insurance companies. The patient’s ability to pay never plays a role in whether the cannabis prescription gets filled.

Payment for a large proportion of prescriptions is the responsibility of the State. Private insurance companies are not reimbursed. In Germany, everyone has one insurance or the other.

Marijuana Prescription Reimbursements in 2020

Medical insurance reimbursements jumped by more than one-third last year when compared to the previous year, 2019. According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, GVK, reimbursements were up 34% from the previous year.  The product responsible for the increase is likely Epidyolex. 

Epidyolex is a pharmaceutical made from cannabis. Its manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals, is a  company based in the UK. The European Union approved the drug for use in the EU in 2019. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. CBD is the main ingredient in Epidyolex.

Epidyolex is most effective for the treatment of epilepsy. It has no major side effects. Insurance reimbursements cover the cost of this drug and other cannabis prescriptions.

The GVK covers approximately 90% of the German population. The rest of the population relies on private insurance. They are not included in the rising statistics.

Reimbursements for medical marijuana prescriptions are paid for by the State. The rising value of these reimbursement payments is an optimistic sign for Germany. The Country’s cannabis industry is thriving but still has plenty of room to grow.

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