The French Minister of Solidarity and Health has signed a lengthy decree specifying how a small-scale pilot program will be supplied with medical cannabis that ultimately will be given to patients free of charge.
That decree, signed Friday, was followed by the Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) publishing the application process for suppliers on Monday.
As a result, most of the long-awaited regulatory legwork is done and the experimental program is ready to begin once the government selects the suppliers, who will be responsible for swallowing the program’s costs.
The program also will rely on imported medical cannabis.
In addition to supplying up to 3,000 patients with free product, participating companies will have to comply with pharmaceutical standards, including Good Manufacturing Practice.
Some details, such as how doctor education will work, also remain to be clarified. But the first prescription is expected by the end of March 2021 at the latest.
The experiment does not represent an immediate revenue opportunity for cannabis producers – at least not during the next two years. Prospects beyond that two-year period are uncertain.
Cannabis producers selected as suppliers of the French experiment will not only have to provide the products free of charge. They also will be responsible for assuring distribution – also at no cost – to French pharmacies as well as maintaining the pharmacovigilance