Czech Republic Experience

Tomas Zabransky, MD, PhD
International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, Prague, Czech Republic
Department of Addictology, First Medical Faculty, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

In August 2011, a petition on medical cannabis was published under the patronage of prominent scientists, public figures, and patients. On the basis of a proposal from the then Head of the Czech Parliament, a Working Group on Legalization of Medical Cannabis was then established. The Working Group submitted its proposal on the legal amendments by 21st December 2011. The law proposal made it smoothly through the Parliament; by 1st April 2013, the legalization of medical cannabis prescribed by authorized medical doctors had come into effect.

The State Cannabis Agency is one of the departments of the Czech Medical Drugs Administration (MDA). At the time of the submission of this abstract, because of the very high price of medical cannabis (18-300 CZK (€7-11.50) per gram in a country where the average net monthly wage is €780 and the social benefit for disabled people is €345 on average), the Czech Republic had had only a total of 241 medical cannabis patients, 74 clinicians authorized to prescribe it, one licensed domestic grower of medical cannabis, and imports from Canada and the Netherlands. Altogether, five kilos of medical cannabis were used officially between 2013 and 2018. No exports are allowed according to the interpretation of the law by the Czech MDA. At the time of the submission of this abstract (the end of January 2019), major changes in the medical cannabis supply system were being debated at the governmental level, which should include, inter alia, the subsidizing of the cost of medical cannabis by the government and thus, better economic availability for the patients. The presentation should provide initial data about the impacts of these changes.