Cannabis Terapeutica reports..

In Sicily, a patient with multiple sclerosis, Loredana Gullotta, received a free dispensation of cannabis at the “Piemonte” hospital in Messina: 45 grams of inflorescences delivered in 90 capsules prepared by a partner pharmacy.

She is the first patient in the Region who managed to have cannabis borne by the regional health system, despite the decree signed about a year ago by the councilor for health, Ruggero Razza. The decree was then followed by the meetings of the technical table “Cannabis for therapeutic use” and then the online course  promoted by the Health Department and created by CEFPAS, whose coordinator is Dr. Monica Sapio, with the aim of training the “prescribers” of cannabis therapy.

Cannabis and free prescription in Sicily

“This plant has the strength to calm pain – replies Loredana – I would like to be the first of many others. I wish there were other sick people with me to fight this battle. We must come forward and not lock ourselves in the house, but move and react, also to add other pathologies to those included in the decree, also for veterinary use ”, Loredana told Meridionews .

“Unfortunately”, says Santa Sarta of the Medical Cannabis Patients Committee , “even today we find ourselves having ‘series A’ patients and ‘series B’ patients based on the province of belonging. The agreements with the local pharmacies have been signed by: the ASP of Ragusa and the ASP of Messina, which initially took action to create the hospital pharmacy to dispense galenic preparations ”. A process stopped by Covid and restarted now.

In fact, the Committee maintained relations with Dr. Giuseppe Bova of the pain therapy of Taormina, dr. La Paglia General Manager Asp Messina , dr. Alagna health director of Asp Messina and Dr. Rossitto Simple Operating Unit – Metropolitan Territorial Pharmacy, managing to stipulate agreements with local pharmacies and making sure that finally patients belonging to the ASP of Messina will have free access to these therapies.

Furthermore, in these days, thanks to some patients from the province of Trapani , the Committee together with Dr. Carlo Privitera, had the opportunity to meet a group of municipal councilors from Castelvetrano, Mazzara del Vallo and Petrosino. “They immediately accepted our appeal by presenting motions to bind the ASP of Trapani and all the remaining Sicilian ASPs to take action so as to guarantee access to these galenic preparations based on cannabis to all patients who are entitled to them”, he underlines Santa Sarta.

Medical cannabis: 5 thousand patients in Sicily

And now it’s time to think about the other patients too . “According to our estimates, there are over 5 thousand patients throughout the island”, continues Santa Sarta, underlining that: “There are many who have not activated a cure with cannabis because they know they couldn’t afford it given the high cost: from 300 to 1500 euros per month. For example for children with epilepsy, however for the moment excluded from the decree ”.

A single regional price list

According to the pharmacist Paolo Minacori: “This is the first time that galenic products, ie prepared by pharmacists, are reimbursed in Sicily. In theory they should be prepared by hospital pharmacies, in reality the decree provides for conventions of hospitals with private pharmacies. Who don’t always manage to find cannabis on the market. We therefore fear that patchy conventions between hospitals and private pharmacies could lead to drug interruptions when a pharmacy runs out of cannabis ”. According to Minacori the solution could be: “A price listsingle regional – he concluded – would go beyond the conventions and patients could obtain supplies wherever they are available. Thus maintaining therapeutic continuity and freedom of choice for those patients who increase every day “.

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