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France: Medical cannabis pilot project extends for another year



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On the 26th of September the report was supposed to be presented on the pilot project that was carried out in France, regarding the production of cannabis-based medicines. However, the French health authorities decided to extend the project for another year, in order to allow the national sector to adapt to be more competitive. Patient associations are against the measure.

According to the news portal, the decision imposed to extend the pilot project is justified by the DGS with three key reasons: low volume of prescriptions, lack of economic data, need to comply with European discussions. However, the same article notes that the Ministry of the Interior may be showing some resistance to generalized medicinal legalization.

On 26 September, a report was expected to be presented to the French Parliament regarding the implementation of the pilot project that began last year to establish a national market for medical cannabis. One of three scenarios was expected, with the project retraction scenario being very unlikely. The industry hoped that the French Directorate General of Health would complete the pilot project and consequently open the market to the remaining players European countries, or extend the pilot project.

The Directorate General for Health ended up extending the project for another year, having communicated the decision to the French agro-industry and patient groups. In this way, the French market continues to depend on its domestic production (and consequent transformation and approval of products) to satisfy the needs of patients. It is only at the end of the pilot project that, if the legalization of medical cannabis is decided, the market will be able to include other companies.

French agro-industry recommended postponement

Last week, in anticipation of the presentation of the report on the implementation of the pilot project, the made it known that a small note sent to Members by Santé France Cannabis. This is an association that brings together various stakeholders representing the future sector of cannabis for medical use in France, and recommended, in its note, “a postponement” of the legalization of medical cannabis for one year. 

According to the French media, the note reads that “the national stakeholders gathered at the “Santé France Cannabis” propose – as some public decision-makers predict – the postponement of one year of the generalization (of the French medical cannabis law), scheduled for March 2023, in order to allow the necessary time for the sector to organize itself”, concludes the note.

Disgruntled patients with delay

Patient associations did not take long to make their voices heard after the news of the extension of the pilot project was announced. In a statement, the associations showed excluded from this decision, showing some signs of disagreement regarding the postponement. The Apaiser Association criticized in its social networks the primacy of economic criteria to the detriment of patients' quality of life. 

According to the portal NewsWeed.Fr, which quoted a statement to the national press, the associations “deeply regret not having been consulted, or even informed, about this decision, before it was released to the press by a statement from representatives of the agro-industrial sector. This method is symptomatic of the lack of consideration by patients in this decision.”


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