In Germany, the number of cannabis patients, reimbursement-cases, and medical cannabis sales are rapidly increasing after the legalization of medical cannabis in March 2017.
On request of the “Rheinische Post,” some of Germany’s major health insurance providers published new figures that detail the number of claims for reimbursement of medical cannabis. According to the General Local Health Insurance Fund (AOK), the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), and the Barmer Ersatzkasse, 13,000 cannabis patients have so far received reimbursement for herbal cannabis products, while the claim for reimbursement has been rejected for approximately 7,000 insured persons.
Domestic production to regulate pricing
The number of issued private prescriptions, in which patients have to pay for their own medicine, should be significantly higher, just as it was during the first three months after the law’s establishment but those numbers have not been published yet.
In cases where a doctor supplies a so-called “private prescription,” the patient must pay for their medicine out of pocket. The insurance is not involved in this process, but “insurance-prescription,” on the other hand, guarantees reimbursement. No doctor would supply an “insurance-prescription” without the provider’s permission to prescribe cannabis, applied for in advance. The medical service of all insurers is an independent panel of doctors who decide the need and reimbursement of special therapies or medical aid.
Thus, the number of private recipes issued may even be significantly higher than those at which the currently immense costs of 25 Euros/ gram are taken over. Doctors and patients hope that with the planned domestic production from 2019, prices will fall as well.