Colombian cannabis patients can look forward to significantly reduced costs, as the government mandates that medical insurers must provide coverage for all pharmaceutical forms of the plant.
For the country’s estimated 6 million potential cannabis patients, the change is also expected to simplify the process and reduce approval times.
Last week, the the Ministry of Health and Public Safety published its 2022 updates for new medicines and medical procedures that need to be included in all health plans.
The update added 654 new medical procedures and 564 medicines to the list, which included all concentrations and pharmaceutical forms of THC and CBD. The changes became effective Jan. 1.
Vice-Minister of Public Safety Maria Andrea Godoy said this is the largest upgrade in the history of Colombia’s health public service.
“On this occasion, the government has made an enormous effort that allows the inclusion — considerably greater — of health technologies to which citizens affiliated to the General System of Social Security in Health will (SGSS) be entitled”, Godoy said in a statement.
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In a statement Tuesday, Toronto-headquartered cannabis company Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV: KHRN) (OTCQX: KHRNF) (Frankfurt: A2JMZC) said including cannabis in the country’s mandatory health plan will create one of the largest insured markets for the medical cannabis industry worldwide.
The company says the regulatory changes will help Khiron position itself as a worldwide leader given its already established presence in the country.
In March 2020, the firm became the first licensed producer in Colombia allowed to sell cannabis to patients, through its Zerenia medical cannabis clinics.
Since then, Khiron has continued to grow and fulfilled more than 57,000 prescriptions for more than 16,000 patients. The company has 15 medical clinics in Colombia and Peru, as well as a location opening in the United Kingdom in November.
Last year, the Colombian government included medical cannabis as one of its approved medications for insurance coverage, but only some providers included it.
“In 2021, 60 per cent of our products were sold through agreements with two major insurance providers. Today, all insurance companies are mandated to cover medical cannabis in Colombia, with less paperwork and hassle for patients,” Khiron CEO Alvaro Torres said in a statement.
“Even though the previous rules were more complicated, the insurance coverage made a dramatic difference in our results.”