Medical cannabis health insurance coverage could give Czech Republic a competitive edge in European market

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Europe’s medical cannabis market is on the rise, with Germany taking the lead as a major importer of the plant for pharmaceutical purposes. However, since medical cannabis in Czech Republic was recently made available under public health insurance policies, the landlocked European country stands a good chance at catching up to Germany’s success.

It was on the first day of 2020 that patients first gained access to medical cannabis insurance coverage in Czech Republic. This meant that – from January 1 – residents covered under public health insurance were able to recoup what they spent on medical cannabis; based on certain conditions.

As a result of including medical cannabis in Czech Republic health insurance policies, the country’s economy is starting to reap the financial rewards. Nevertheless, obstacles remain — not only do patients have limited options in regards to the physicians who can prescribe medical cannabis but also, the number of pharmacies from which they can purchase their medicine is severely restricted.

Fixed prices of medical cannabis in Czech Republic could cut into profits 

The inclusion of medical cannabis coverage in Czech Republic health insurance plans is indicative of market growth and development. However, supply chain prices are fixed by the government. This creates a problem for pharmacy owners, many of whom are left with a slim profit margin for medical cannabis flower. Consequently, this is deterring some business owners from wanting to sell flower products at all.

Nonetheless, the recent changes regarding health insurance coverage for medical cannabis in Czech Republic have presented the country with new money-making opportunities. Although only 16 kilograms – equivalent to 35 pounds – of medical cannabis was sold in Czech Republic during the first four months of this year, sales revenue is projected to skyrocket further now that plant-based pharmaceutical cannabis products have been added to the European country’s health insurance coverage plan. 

A brief overview of medical cannabis insurance coverage in Czech Republic

The use of medical cannabis in Czech Republic has been legalized and regulated since April 1, 2013. Despite being one of Europe’s oldest medical cannabis patient programs, the market has been moving at a snail’s pace. Fortunately, in a positive turn of events this year, Czech patients became entitled to insurance coverage for medical cannabis flower. 

As per the details of the coverage for medical cannabis in Czech Republic, patients are covered for 90 percent of the retail price of their monthly medicine. Each registered patient’s purchase limit is capped at 30 grams every 30 days. The psychoactivity level – the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content – does not influence the purchase limit. Only in cases whereby a licensed doctor feels that it is absolutely necessary for patients to receive more than the monthly limit of 30 grams will an exception be made; in these instances, the monthly medical cannabis limit cannot exceed 180 grams.

It should be noted that the first four months of 2020 racked up approximately the same amount of Czech Republic’s medical cannabis sales revenue as the entire of 2019; suggesting that there is plenty of room for the market to mature.