New steps outlined by the Health Ministry will make it easier for consumers of medical cannabis to access their medications, according to a ministry statement on Thursday.

“We are attentive to criticism and to improving in order to ease the suffering of patients,” Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said. “We will continue to promote further activities on the matter.”

Part of the ministry’s plan is to supervise the pricing of cannabis to keep it under control. The supervision will take place under the authority and approval of a price committee, which will consist of representatives from the ministries of finance and economy.

“A large proportion of the patients will pay less than what they currently pay in the old system,” the ministry wrote in a statement. A fixed payment for pediatric patients and oncology patients will be set at around NIS 500, which will cover their cannabis medications regardless of the amount that they use.

The ministry also hopes to establish a maximum price for public doctor visits, which take place for the purpose of attaining a license to use medical cannabis, to between NIS 279 and 283. This change is subject to approval of the ministries of finance and economy.
Although the ministry released new guidelines regarding licensing in April, it announced that patients holding old licenses would still be able to benefit from the new system. Until January 2020, pediatric patients and patients with autism will be able to choose whether to follow the old system or the new one.

Under the new system, “prescription splits” will be allowed, meaning that patients will be able to purchase part of their prescription at one pharmacy and part at another.

Harry Rubinstein, who has used cannabis in the past to treat his chronic pain from Ankylosing spondylitis, is skeptical that the new system will actually make it easier for patients to access medical cannabis.


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