President of the German Anti-Drug Agency says: Cannabis flowers are only a temporary solution
From the point of view of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the current situation is also not optimal. BfArM President, Professor Karl Broich, told the Reuters that the long-term goal is to allow more cannabis-based medicines and not the flower.
Last week, the German cannabis culture has grown: the 17 April, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has awarded nine contracts on 13 to Canadian companies Aurora and Aphria. This gives the go-ahead for growing 7200 kilograms of 10400 kilograms originally planned over four years.
BfArM regulates not only German culture, but also current supply through imports. Critics such as the Greens and Left politicians find it too restrictive. But how does the "eye of the authorities" see the supply of cannabis in Germany?
"Cannabis is a systemic break"
Professor Karl Broich, director of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), found clear words in an interview with Handelsblatt on Easter Sunday. The fact that cannabis is available as a drug under the law and not on the basis of evidence of efficacy is a "systemic break" for the physician. From the point of view of the licensing authority, however, this current "special approach" is only a temporary solution. The long-term goal is to allow more cannabis-based finished drugs.
Some studies on standardized cannabis preparations are already underway. However, it may still be years before they are available. Broich says pharmaceutical companies that develop cannabis-based solutions will be supported in this process.
"Economic concerns have taken precedence over the interests of patients," said Broich. On the current call for tenders, the President of BfArM regrets that economic interests have taken precedence over those of patients. "For me, as chair of the competent authority, this is an untenable situation. How many applications do you think we received from farms and nurseries that have stormed the big business but have no experience in growing medicinal plants?
There will probably be no German cannabis crop before the end of 2020. Until then, supply will be provided exclusively by imports. Here too, the authorities set high standards. Because cannabis has serious side effects, like psychoses. "Any regularly approved drug that has such side effects would be immediately removed from the market. That's why it's important that we be very demanding about the quality of our products, "says Broich. However, the president of BfArM did not address the issue of whether these side effects would also occur with finished drugs made from pure isolated substances.
Whether because of the high demands placed on foreign producers or other factors that play a role: In everyday practice, the current import situation for pharmacists and patients is in any case suboptimal. The problem lies only in the fact that patients thought they needed some variety, especially a variety that contains a lot of THC. "It can happen that flowers, from one pharmacy to another, grows differently and therefore not the same content," suggested the head of the authorities.
The Federal Ministry of Health had a similar idea last summer because pharmacies rarely keep large quantities of flowers in stock, because delivery times are short and favorable return regulations are rare.
In addition, it is now recognized internationally that varieties differ not only in their THC content, but also in their entire spectrum of substances and therefore in their effect - in other words, that is practically different drugs. And the fact that prescriptions of THC-dominant varieties are frequent probably has a medical justification: THC, for example, has a strong analgesic effect and the proportion of the indication "pain" in cannabis therapies currently approved by the crates of illness is relatively high.