Obtaining a prescription for medical cannabis just got a lot easier for Swiss patients
On Monday, the upper house of the Swiss government, the Council of States, approved a proposal adopted by the Swiss National Council last December to allow doctors in the country to prescribe cannabis without federal authorization, which was previously necessary. This initiative is expected to significantly expand access to medical cannabis. Previous legislation required approval from the country's federal health authority.
This decision follows a historic United Nations vote last December, which removed cannabis and cannabis resin from Section IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was widely seen as implicitly recognizing the plant's medical value.
While non-medical use remains illegal, cannabis will now be classified as a controlled substance under the Narcotics Act. This means that its cultivation, processing, production and trade are subject to the Swiss Medicines Supervisory Authority and medical devices.
According to a statement from Pure Holding AG, a Swiss company with four federal THC exemptions, prescribing physicians must provide the federal office of health information on the treatment during the first years after the entry into force of the amendment.
The aim is to follow the evolution of the prescription of cannabis-based drugs and understand their effects, the company says. This monitoring will help the country scientifically assess legal changes, as well as help law enforcement agencies and doctors stay up to date.
Pure Holding applauds this decision, saying that Switzerland has made a historic gesture that brings it closer to countries where access to medical cannabis is regulated, such as Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.
The company says it is in the process of setting up an indoor production facility to produce high-quality flowers. Last September, Swiss politician Heinz Seigenthaler presented the National Council with a parliamentary initiative to regulate the cannabis market in order to better protect young people and consumers.
"The prohibition of cannabis, compared to legal drugs, is not based on recent scientific bases, especially since the harmfulness of tobacco and alcohol is not less", we can read in the initiative “The arguments used are less and less valid morally and legally. Finally, only a regulated market would meet the requirements of Swiss drug policy ”.
The previous legislation on medical cannabis came into effect in 2011, and Epidiolex has been available by prescription in Switzerland since its approval by the European Medicines Agency in September 2019.