Violating Human Rights – A German Doctor’s Perspective
There is an uprising in America about medical cannabis. There is in other places too, all over the world. Private use is slowly allowed. And that is a good thing. It opens the doors to other things. And right now, we need to open these doors much wider.
In Germany the situation has gone out of control, especially for the patients. This is especially clear for those on the front line – who fought and even WON the permission to treat themselves. It is true also for those who fought to grow cannabis at home to treat themselves because their insurance companies would not cover it.
With the new change in the law, yes there is a forward movement of the industry. Sadly, however, formerly secure patients now are outlaws again.
When our new legalization law passed in March, all permissions, attests and certifications granted to patients before were invalid overnight.
The procedure to get now through to a doctor who prescribes cannabis is a horror.
Of course the law prescribes that doctors can issue prescriptions at any time, but the national insurance health companies have a right to oppose. They want an anonymous documentary thing which unless updated (as MedPayRx intends to do) will just cause more bureaucracy for the doctors. We want to treat patients. We do not like the extra paperwork.
But what is really insane is that after two years the companies have the right to stop the therapy. They can end this at any time, for any individual patient. Worse, they can then force the doctor who has prescribed this medicine to the patient for this period time to pay all of this money back too on his or her account. You easily can see what is going to happen.
There are other terrible things going on too. The price for cannabis at the pharmacy has gone up since March 2017 from 8,00 a gramm up 76! Euro per gram
That is a monthly average cost, per patient, of at least 2,000 Euro a month for 100 gram (about an ounce in American measuring). This is 48,000 Euro over two years. How on earth is a prescribing doctor supposed to pay all of that money back. And for what?
Was the purpose of this law to financially ruin doctors who want to treat their chronically ill patients? And further do so with a drug with few side effects, low rates of addiction and certainly safer than opiates and other “traditional” pain drugs.
In this very moment I have 23 requests from chronically ill patients searching for doctors who can prescribe them cannabis at their town. I can’t find any – as a professional colleague. I hate to think what this must be like for other patients.
Many of these doctors are very conservative and not willing right now to consider cannabis as a legitimate medicine.
As a result, we are in the process of recriminalizing patients who should be able to qualify for legal medicine and further have it paid for as a legitimate drug under German healthcare.
Let me give you a snapshot of what one of the patients I know now faces.
He has permission to be treated by medical marijuana in Germany. He has an inoperable brain tumor. This causes him severe headaches. But here is the next problem. The patient is not a saint. He got into trouble. He narrowly avoided prison by doing rehabilitation for six years. However these days, he is married, has a secure child and profession. He keeps his life together and treats his condition with marijuana. That is the only “odd” thing about him really. But he could lose everything he has built because he needs treatment with a drug we still stigmatize. And my profession still refuses to consider as effective medicine.
Problem is, that is not the end of the story. Because he has had a past problem with addiction, including to the same kinds of substances he is now being freely prescribed, the doctors he is now approaching are refusing to prescribe cannabis. Frankly, the least addictive of all major painkillers.
I ended up going to bat for this guy. We got him permission. And the day he came for a new consultation, he told me that his doctor was aggressively suggesting that he again try heavy and highly addictive painkillers but still refused to prescribe cannabinoids.
To Be Continued…