Smoking on prescription is becoming easier – but too expensive
A dose of cannabis costs 700 francs. Is
Medicinal cannabis will be more readily available from August 1. The paralyzed Franziska Qadri is delighted. But she criticizes: “Only the wealthy can buy legal cannabis.”
Is smoking weed good for your health? This is true in the case of Franziska Kadri (47). The Zurich woman has been paralyzed from the neck down and in severe pain since a paragliding accident 13 years ago. “I realized relatively quickly that cannabis helps me,” she says. Not only against pain, but also against spastic spasms.
Starting next week, access to medicinal cannabis will be easier for people like Quadri. As of August 1, doctors are no longer required to obtain approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) to prescribe it. Parliament passed the same amendment to the Narcotics Act last year.
Barbed wire and cameras: New Argo cannabis farm closely monitored,01:52,
“A Huge Opportunity”
Qadri is pleased with the move he has taken as the President of the Medical Cannabis Association (MEDCAN), representing the interests of cannabis patients. “Law change is a huge opportunity for new cannabis patients,” she says. Mainly because he expects more attention will be paid to the use of cannabis in medicine in the future.
But many obstacles remain. The biggest is probably the price. While medicinal cannabis is expensive, on the other hand, high doses of Quadri are needed to keep the pain at bay.
“The drug cost me 700 francs a day,” Quadri says. “It’s totally beyond!” Health insurance pays only in exceptional cases. In Qadri’s case, yes, but then it got very expensive. So she is now again consuming cannabis illegally.
Patients still have to pay themselves
At the moment, nothing will change in the self-payment principle. The Federal Council justifies this by saying that the effectiveness of medical cannabis has not been sufficiently proven. “Indeed, this means that only the wealthy can afford legal cannabis,” criticizes Qadri.
Another problem that affected people have faced so far: very few preparations are approved in Switzerland today. What the cannabis patient believes will change now. And he expects the cost to come down in the medium term as well. A similar rule has been in force in Germany since 2017. “Prices have dropped drastically since then,” she says.
Qadri doesn’t understand why it is so difficult for politicians to facilitate access to cannabis for pain patients like him. “I could easily have a pain pump for 20,000 or 30,000 francs, which would inject medicine directly into my spine.” But he has to refill it every six weeks. “When I smoke a joint, I have the same effect – just in a natural way and much cheaper.”