Medical cannabis users in Canada are overlooked by insurance companies, with harmful repercussions.
Medical cannabis users in Canada are overlooked by insurance companies, with harmful repercussions. In 2020, less than 10% of Canadians had insurance that covered medicinal cannabis. This means that patients are de-incentivized to try replacing traditional over-the-counter medications with medical cannabis. Insurance companies’ inconsistent treatment of cannabis, namely their choice to treat medicinal cannabis as somehow different from other prescription medications, de-legitimizes the proven medicinal properties of cannabis and stigmatizes its users.
The lack of insurance coverage substantially impacts the affordability of medical cannabis; this is especially true for those with severe illnesses that require significant daily quantities, which can be prohibitively expensive. These patients are left stranded between insured drugs with a high potential for abuse, like opiates, or uninsured drugs with higher safety profiles but higher price points, like medical cannabis.
Unlike traditional medications, medical cannabis has not been issued a Drug Identification Number (DIN) by Health Canada, despite being regulated twenty years ago. A DIN identifies drugs authorized for sale in Canada and provides the product’s name, manufacturer, and potency. These eight-digit codes are crucial to insurers as they denote which drugs are prescribed for which afflictions, which consequently informs whether it qualifies for coverage.
According to Health Canada, ‘a drug product sold in Canada without a DIN is not in compliance with Canadian law’ – no DIN typically means no insurance coverageConsidering Health Canada regulated medical cannabis twenty years ago, this seems incongruous, with patients paying a high price for regulatory inconsistencies. To add further complication, while Health Canada has not issued a DIN for medical cannabis, the Canadian Revenue Agency does allow cannabis to be considered a medical expense upon which tax can be offset.
Unlike other prescription medication, cannabis is subject to a sales tax which further inflates its cost. In addition to sales tax, unethical licensed producers and retailers often add hefty markups to medical cannabis products that target the profit margins enjoyed in the recreational industry. This created instances where affordable medications were dropped on the eve of legalization, with retailers instead only stocking cannabis with high markups.
An equitable ecosystem was needed to solve the challenges that Canadians faced in receiving simple, direct access to affordable medical cannabis. Patient Choice connects patients with licensed cannabis producers, processors, and nurseries nationwide, that provide access to the complete range of medical products -including oils, topicals and starting materials for cultivation.
Curated to ensure patients receive the highest quality medicine at the lowest cost, the innovative platform directly connects patients with producers so they can access their entire portfolio, as opposed to product with substantial profit margins. Operating on a non-possession model, Patient Choice foregoes an inventory to remove the incentive to promote a specific supplier or product.
This is not only essential to uphold impartiality industry transparency, but also enables patients to make balanced and informed treatment decisions. As cannabis is delivered directly from producers to patients, it streamlines the supply chain and mitigates distribution costs, with cost-savings passed on to the consumer. This also ensures patients only receive fresh cannabis, and that the reputation of providers is not jeopardized by inefficient distributors.
Once registered with Patient Choice, patients have the freedom and flexibility to seamlessly switch between suppliers without the need to re-register. This enables patients to try new products to determine which works best for them. Patient Choice is constantly strengthening the diversity of producers and patients, with a commitment to promote market accessibility for both parties in a mutually beneficial ecosystem.
If you’re interested in embracing the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis, but are daunted by the medicinal framework, we have compiled an in-depth overview of the registration options available.
Ready to register and access an unsurpassed selection of superior medical cannabis products?
We would love to welcome you to Patient Choice here.