Court decides in favour of patients in Cannabis treatment of severe pains

The Social Courts of the Federal State Niedersachsen-Bremen decided in a temporary injunction for a patient with severe chronic pain, that the Statutory Health Insurance has to finance treatment, even if the treatment is not approved (in that indication).

In this case, a 54 year old patient had severe pains for years due to the rheumatic disease in Morbus Bechterew. Since 1982 it was impossible to treat him with a conventional medical approach. Due to that fact, the patient applied for an exceptional permission for the acquisition of Cannabis drops for therapeutic purposes at the Federal Opium Agency (a Dept. of the Federal Institute for Drugs and […] Medical Devices), which was granted.

Yet, the Statutory Health Insurance refused to bear the costs with the argument, that the therapy with Cannabis was not an approved method of treatment.

According to the Court´s opinion, the German Social Code (2012 edition) offers the opportunity for patients to receive reimbursed treatment in life-threatening diseases, if these promise alleviation or cure of a disease, which is currently not or not sufficiently treatable, even if the indication is not approved. Severest, untreatable pains can be compared to life-threatening diseases.

Whether this ruling is applicable in the case at hand, will be decided in the formal investigation procedure at the Social Court Oldenburg to which the case was remanded.

Meanwhile the Health insurance has to pay for the treatment. In case the health insurance will prevail with their argumentation, the patient will be obliged to pay back the reimbursed amount.

Wednesday, 21. October 2015