Berlin, 05/24/2023: With the entry into force of the “Cannabis as Medicine” Act 2017, access to medical cannabis and reimbursement by health insurers was made possible in principle for seriously ill patients.
The experience of six years of medical cannabis in practice shows: There is an urgent need for reform and debureaucratization. This also became clear during the comments procedure of the Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss (G-BA) on the amendment of the pharmaceutical guideline.
The undersigned associations have prepared a joint position paper in which they have evaluated the G-BA decision of March 16, 2023 and the German government’s key points paper of October 26, 2022 and formulated recommendations for action for the German government.
In view of the legalization efforts of the federal government and the associated regulatory changes, the alliance of professional associations of patients, physicians, pharmacists and the cannabis industry agree: the “Cannabis as Medicine” Act must be amended. The joint position paper contains five core demands in this regard:
- Abolish or adapt the requirement for approval by health insurance companies when covering the costs of therapy with cannabis medicinal products
- Remove medicinal cannabis from the scope of application of the Narcotics Act
- Standardize and apply legal framework for cannabis medicinal products nationwide
- Expand national funding of research projects for cannabis therapies
- Ensure nationwide and priority supply of patients with quality-assured cannabis medicines
In order to ensure the common goal of providing patients with the best possible supply of quality-assured medicinal cannabis in Germany, the undersigned associations are actively campaigning for a reform of the legal framework.
Gero Kohlhaas from the patient association Selbsthilfenetzwerk Cannabis-Medizin (SCM) points out that too often decisions are made over the heads of patients against their concerns: “As a patient association of affected persons and relatives, the SCM expects the fastest possible enforcement of improvements for patients and doctors in the field of cannabis as medicine.”
“As long as the overwhelming proportion of patients in need is not supplied by the health care system, we welcome the possibility of self-cultivation. This offers some patients an option to get out of illegality,” explains Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen on behalf of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin e.V. (ACM) on the submitted plans of the federal government. “However, we see considerable risks associated with displacing patients into the recreational market. Medical therapy should be provided by physicians.”
Dr. Conny Cimander of the German Medical Cannabis Society (DMCG) explains, “The possibility of being able to use medical cannabis for chronic diseases is a milestone in medicine. It can significantly alleviate distressing symptoms for patients and improve their quality of life. The DMCG e.V. professionally supports all colleagues to achieve this goal.”
Antonia Menzel from the Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (Bundesverband pharmazeutischer Cannabinoidunternehmen e.V., BPC) reiterates this position: “The supply of patients with cannabis-based medicinal products must not be jeopardized, especially in view of the legalization efforts of the German government. A demand-oriented supply of quality-assured medical cannabis can only be secured with reliable and competitive cultivation and import structures.”
On behalf of the pharmacy community, Dr. Christiane Neubaur of the Verband der Cannabis versorgenden Apotheken e.V. (VCA) emphasizes the need for a supply of high-quality medicinal cannabis: “The VCA is committed to establishing a nationally recognized identity test for medical cannabis, as well as a clear and uniform definition of the microbial quality requirements of medical cannabis flowers for the protection of patients.”
The prescription of medical cannabis must be made much easier, according to Dr. Armin Prasch of the German Cannabis Business Association (BvCW). Otherwise, he said, there is a risk of a migration to unsupervised self-medication. “A big step in the right direction would be the establishment of an application- and approval-free, time-defined test therapy phase.” And further, “If Germany wants to remain important as a location for medical cannabis, we need research funding, such as the establishment of a national, medical registry for cannabis and competitive framework conditions for national cultivation and import.”
The joint position paper of the eight associations can be found here: Link
Contact for the press:
Dr. Armin Prasch
Departmental Coordinator Medical Cannabis of the German Cannabis Business Association (BvCW)
Phone: 01522 8815993
Deputy Chairwoman of the Board and Head of the AG Politik of the German Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (BPC)
Phone: 0162 6661104
About the associations:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin e.V. (ACM)
Contact: Dr. med. Franjo Grotenhermen & Prof. Dr. med. Kirsten Müller-Vahl
Phone: 05233 953 72 46
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin e.V. (ACM) was founded in 1997 in Cologne. In it physicians:inside, Apotheker:inside, patient:inside, Jurist:inside and other interested ones from Germany and Switzerland organized themselves. Over the past 25 years, the ACM has been instrumental in improving the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in Germany. For example, a constitutional complaint initiated by the ACM and subsequent test cases before the administrative courts paved the way for exemption permits for the use of cannabis from pharmacies in 2007 and finally for the 2017 law.
The Association of German Cannabis Patients (BDCan) as a non-profit association is committed to direct exchange with politicians, doctors, pharmacists, health insurance companies, MDK and industry to ensure that patients are provided with high-quality cannabis medicines in various dosage forms by local pharmacies and at the expense of the statutory health insurance, if a therapy with cannabinoids is indicated. In addition, we offer our members support in the establishment of self-help groups and provide advice in these groups as well as via our hotline and e-mail on all questions relating to therapy with medical cannabis.
German Cannabis Business Association e.V. (BvCW)
Contact & V.i.S.d.P.: Jürgen Neumeyer, Managing Director
Phone: 0163 9860 888
Professional contact: Dr. Armin Prasch, department coordinator medical cannabis
The BvCW is the voice of the cannabis economy in Germany and represents all industry segments and company sizes vis-à-vis politics and administration. Our specialist areas are divided into “stimulant regulation”, ” industrial hemp & food”, “medicinal cannabis”, “CBD et al.” and “technology, trade & services”. We bundle industrial policy, technological, scientific and economic expertise and advocate for better political framework conditions.
Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (BPC)
Contact: Antonia Menzel
Deputy chairwoman of the board and head of the AG Politik of the Bundesverband pharmazeutischer Cannabinoidunternehmen e.V. (BPC)
Phone: 0162 6661104
The Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (BPC) guarantees patients the best possible supply of quality-assured medical cannabis in Germany. The association promotes a sustainable further development of cannabinoid therapies and thus simultaneously strengthens the position of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid industry in Germany and in the international market.
The aim of the BPC is the security of supply of patients with quality-assured medical cannabis. The BPC bundles the expertise of its members and is instrumental in promoting ideal cultivation and supply structures for medical cannabis. This unique combination enables the BPC to represent the interests of the German cannabinoid industry in the best possible way and to position itself clearly vis-à-vis decision-makers.
With our visionary guiding principle “Medical cannabis – health grows!”, the Deutsche Medizinal-Cannabis Gesellschaft e.V. (DMCG) forms a platform for physicians and associated professional groups to work together on the topic of cannabis in medicine. Founded in September 2020, the purpose of the still young professional society is to promote and support scientific and practical work on research into the mode of action as well as the fields of application of cannabis-containing medicines for the prevention, treatment and aftercare of diseases, disease-like impairments or conditions as well as the holistic use in patients in the public health system. The DMCG is patron of the annual Medicinal Cannabis Congress in Berlin.
Interdisciplinary Working Group of Brandenburg Pain Therapists and Palliative Physicians e.V. (IABSP)
Contact: Dr. med. Christoph Wendelmuth & Dr. med. Knud Gastmeier
Phone: 0331 743070
The IABSP working group was founded in Kleinmachnow in 1993. It is a group of physicians and psychotherapists from Brandenburg who are concerned with regional problems related to pain and palliative medicine and who constructively seek solutions. The IABSP has been instrumental in various ways since 2000 in bringing about improvements in the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in Brandenburg.
Patient Association Selbsthilfenetzwerk Cannabis-Medizin (SCM)
Contact: Gero Kohlhaas & Maximilian Plenert
Phone: 05233 953 72 46
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
The Selbsthilfenetzwerk Cannabis als Medizin (SCM) is by far the largest and oldest association of cannabis patients in Germany. It is a network of affected persons within the ACM. Together with its trained patient advisors, the local self-help groups and a patient telephone, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin and its self-help network of cannabis patients is the leading point in Germany for those seeking advice and those interested. SCM and ACM e. V. offer information, advice, organizational opportunities and support, and thus foundations for milestones fought for such as the “Cannabis as Medicine” law.
The avowed goal of the VCA is it to ensure in Germany an efficient and affordable supply of Patient:innen with medical Cannabis. This supply obligation sees the federation completely clearly with the pharmaceutical Expert:innen in the pharmacy. According to § 1 of the German Pharmacy Act, pharmacies are responsible for ensuring the proper supply of medicines to the population in the public interest. This is the point of contact for patients before, during and after receiving a prescription from a doctor.
The pharmaceutical staff can provide optimal advice and therapeutic support.