18 March 2016
The report reveals
Nurse practitioners, Savino argues, are the primary care providers for many individuals in the state and have largely been more open to the idea of prescribing medical marijuana than physicians, who have been more conservative about the drug.
Patient access to the drug has so far plagued the program. While the Department of Health claims that 455 physicians have registered for the state’s medical marijuana program, there is no available list of where the doctors are located, resulting in eligible patients ditching their doctors in search for one who will prescribe the drug or eligible patients not being able to get it.
“One of the things that has become crystal clear to me and others is if there’s a log jam in this program, it’s doctors,” Savino said.
In an effort to better educate doctors and increase access, she plans to introduce a bill that will allow organizations that are registered with the state to grow and sell the drug to directly provide information about medical marijuana to physicians, similar to how representatives for pharmaceutical companies showcase their product to physicians.
Due to the vertical integration of the program, if there aren’t enough doctors getting certified to prescribe the drug, there won’t be enough patients to buy it, resulting in the five organizations that grow and sell medical marijuana in New York becoming financially strained, she said.
The legislation would also allow each of the five registered organizations to double the amount of dispensaries they are allowed under the current law, from four to eight.