Insurers reimbursements to German patients with medical cannabis prescriptions reached a new record in the period from October to December 2019, advanced the German National Association of Health Insurance Funds (National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds). According to recently released data, insurers have increased the value of reimbursements to more than 120 million euros, reported this week to MJBizDaily.
despite some supply problems at the end of 2019, medical cannabis reimbursements reached €36.6 million in the fourth half of 2019, an increase of more than 13% compared to the previous semester, in which medical cannabis reimbursements totaled €32,3 million. The reason for this increase is directly related to the increase in prescriptions dispensed in Germany, which rose by 40% annually.
Insurers – which cover around 90% of the German population – reimbursed around 123 million euros in 2019, in line with the around 120 million euros forecast by the Marijuana Business Daily in December, when data for the last semester of the year were still unknown.
- The 123 million euros reimbursed in 2019 represents an increase of 67% compared to the 74 million euros reimbursed in 2018.
- German pharmacies registered 267 prescriptions through the legal program in 348, 2019% more than the 44 prescriptions that had been registered the previous year.
This increase in the absolute value in relation to the number of prescriptions indicates that physicians issued, on average, prescriptions for larger quantities. Since the new regulatory framework was implemented in 2017, reimbursements reached a new record in December 2019, reaching 13 million euros in that month alone. Also in December, 6,6 million euros were reimbursed, 14% more than in November, where around 5,8 million euros of patient expenses were covered by German insurers.
The articles of the Canadian producer 'Aurora Cannabis' became unavailable in the last days of November. However, the increase in reimbursements in December for products consisting of cannabis flowers suggests that German patients who used Aurora flowers found an alternative in market competitors.
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All reimbursement data is based on retail prices of pharmacies, which are the only authorized points of sale in Germany, while for products not included in the category of “finished pharmaceutical products”, the percentage increase in the price of the products by pharmacies could reach the 100%.
the german government acknowledged earlier this month, in response to a parliamentary inquiry, which does not know the amount of cannabis sold in Germany in 2019, as it does not have data on private prescriptions.
Another way to access the full size of the German market is through import data, because so far Germany depends exclusively on international suppliers for most of its products, including flowers. In 2019, there were imported to Germany a total of 6 kilograms of flowers, which according to the German government are “mainly for distribution in pharmacies.”
Germany remains by far the largest importer of medical cannabis in the world and its domestic flower production should not reach the market before October 2020. By the end of 2019 all full spectrum flowers and extracts were imported from Canada, the Netherlands or Portugal. The flower, which includes the categories “unprocessed flower” and “flower used in preparations,” typically sold as crushed flower, accounts for just over half of the total medical cannabis market, accounting for about 51% of total reimbursement of cannabis during the fourth semester of 2019, similar to the 52% it represented in the previous semester.
Reimbursement of full spectrum extracts grew slightly, but amounted to only 4% of the reimbursed market. Coverage of cannabinoid preparations has increased slightly since the previous semester, now standing at 30% of the market covered by insurance.
The category is mainly represented by Dronabinol, manufactured in Germany by C3 – a subsidiary of Canada's Canopy Growth – which also includes pharmaceutical CBD, supplied to pharmacies by several companies, which sell it exclusively on presentation of a medical prescription.
Reimbursements for finished pharmaceuticals, a category primarily represented by Sativex, decreased slightly from the previous half year to 15% in the second half of 2019.
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