Looking at the medical revolution brought on by cannabis legalization in Canada and the 33 states in the US, many countries are now considering legalizing the drug for medical use. One such country is Switzerland, where the government is reportedly proposing to allow prescriptions for cannabis to treat people suffering from cancer or other debilitating conditions.
At present, Swiss patients seeking medical marijuana in the country have to first apply for an exception from the Federal Health Office.
“The proposal will permit doctors to directly prescribe cannabis as part of their treatment,” the Swiss cabinet said in a statement. “Growing, processing and sale of the drug would then be possible under a system regulated by Swissmedic”, the country’s drug regulatory agency.
A formal comment period will reportedly run till mid-October.
“The insurance reimbursement process will be dealt with separately.”
The biggest hindrance, though, to automatic reimbursement is that there is a dearth of scientific evidence confirming the long-term efficacy of the drug, and the conclusion of the available studies are sometimes contradictory.
Initially, the government will launch an evaluation project to seek answers on whether the positive impacts of the drug outweigh the negative ones, if yes, then what conditions should qualify for the medical marijuana program.
Notably, last year, the Swiss federal authorities granted over 3,000 exceptions.
Portugal too has approved a bill to legalize marijuana-medicines on similar lines as Germany and Italy.
The government has also granted permission to a few cities to experiment with recreational marijuana, and report the results. In fact, a plan released in February could let up to 5,000 people smoke weed in pilot studies.
At the corporate front, Swiss drugmaker Novartis recently sealed a deal with Canadian giant Tilray.