17 August 2016
Here’s part of the article- you can read the full piece at the link below
A new survey conducted by the Centre for Addictions Research of British Colombia found that 87% of surveyed therapeutic cannabis users gave up prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs in favour of cannabis. Moreover, a study from the University of Georgia examined the costs of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in 2013 over 17 states, and found a savings of $165.2 million in prescription costs due to cannabis use. Savings in this manner are likely to rise significantly as cannabis legalisation sweeps over additional countries, targeting an increasing number of disease areas. Hence, it is not overly surprising that Big Pharma is fearful at the present time as these revenues are being bled directly from their profits.
In an age where prescription medications are at an all-time high and patients are becoming the key stakeholders in determining the outcomes of expensive medications, we are now looking more towards the cost-effectiveness of alternatives. Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of drugs is now the established strategy around EU country-specific regulators, such as NICE and G-BA. These healthcare austerity measures are becoming increasingly stringent on the cost-benefit analysis of new agents in comparison to existing technologies. Unfortunately for Big Pharma, this regime has helped keep drug prices much lower in the EU in order for them to be deemed ‘cost-effective’.
Cannabis may prevail here due to its low associated cost, disease versatility, demonstrated efficacy, and improved safety against competitor prescription medications. In this manner, cannabis may acquire a positive cost-effectiveness evaluation in the EU which would create a window of opportunity for its uptake against Big Pharma’s pricier prescription meds in the future. Indeed tides are turning as Canadian cannabis research giant, Tilray, have recently imported the first ever legal shipment of medical cannabis into the EU from North America, which marks an important milestone in the global progression of legalised cannabis.