DENMARK – If approved and conventional drugs are not sufficient, it will be possible for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis instead during a four-year trial period.
Elderly Minister Sophie Løhde (V) called for a meeting on Tuesday, bringing along health rapporteurs after a majority of parliament requested easier access to medicinal cannabis. Every individual doctor will take responsibility for inititating the medicinal cannabis treatment. Delivery would be done through pharmacies.
Liselott Blixt (DF) calls the agreement “great progress”.
“How much it would cost depends mainly on how many patients are to be covered by subsidies, if there would be subsidies. For me it’s important that not only the wealthy will be able to have access to medicinal cannabis. But let’s get started, so we can address the problems that arise on the go” she added.
According to the Medicines Agency, inspired by the Dutch experience, there are a listed number of conditions eligible. Including spasms and pain associated with multiple sclerosis, spasms and pain associated with spinal cord injuries, general pain and finally nausea, etc. associated with chemotherapy. The expectation is that around 1,500 patients will be eligible under the pilot scheme.
“In my opinion, the Medicines Agency is aiming for a relatively small group of patients. It corresponds roughly to the suffering, it is now possible to deal with medicinal cannabis, ” says Carolina Maier (Alt). In this context, May-Britt Kattrup (LA) added:
“In the Netherlands, doctors may prescribe for conditions like spasms, cramps, pain, nausea and in addition to lack of appetite and weight loss due to radiation and chemotherapy.”
“Another practical question is where the cannabis will come from”
Another practical question is where the cannabis will come from. The desired amount could be imported from the netherlands, where Bedrocan BV is cultivating medicinal cannabis. Or maybe Canada, where several companies cultivate and sell herbs and cannabis oils.
“We obviously have clarified from where we can buy cannabis legally. I do not think that it will be the biggest challenge. It will probably be the economy, ” estimates Jonas Dahl (SF).
The price of Dutch cannabis is 33 euros for a can with five grams of dried cannabis. Depending on the dosage it is estimated, therefore, that the cost of treatment with a daily dose as in the Netherlands will cost about 40 kroner per day per patient. If the expected amount of patients treated for a year is 1,500 patients, it would ost more than 20 million kroner per year.
“The Ministry has made some calculations, and those will have to be looked at by the rapporteurs before we can meet again after the summer,” says Peder Hvelplund (EL).