Germany: Patients Successfully Sue Health Insurances for Reimbursement of Medical Cannabis

Before the introduction of Germany’s new medical marijuana law this March, barely more than 1,000 domestic patients (including the author of this article) were legally permitted to buy medical cannabis from pharmacies, paying the standard rate of 15 Euro/gram. These patients’ medical histories and needs were examined and approved by various medical practitioners, including those of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).

Shortly after Germany’s new medical marijuana law took effect in March, existing medical marijuana permissions became invalid — old as well as new patients needed to receive a new cannabis prescription from a qualified doctor. In cases where a doctor supplies a so-called “private prescription,” the patient must pay for their medicine out of pocket. An “insurance-prescription,” on the other hand, guarantees reimbursement. If a patient’s health insurance denies their reimbursement, the Medical Service of the Health Insurances (MDK) is consulted for a neutral final decision. The MDK was founded by all German health insurance companies to determine the action for special cases of medical issues and reimbursement. For…

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