PRESS RELEASE – PRAGUE, 24. 6. 2014
ONE YEAR AFTER MEDICAL CANNABIS WAS LEGALIZED IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC THE TREATMENT IS STILL NOT AVAILABLE
Today, the patient association KOPAC begins its activities with the aim to defend the rights of all patients for whom medical cannabis is indicated. Despite legislative changes in the Czech Republic regarding the prescription of therapeutic cannabis more than a year ago, medical cannabis for patients is still legally completely inaccessible.
The Patient Association for the Cannabis Treatment – KOPAC – is a voluntary, independent, community organization. It brings together patients who want to treat themselves with cannabis (indicated for the treatment of various types of illness and / or cannabis) and their supporters.
The aim of the association is de facto access to cannabis treatment, advocacy and fight for patient rights, and initiating a process that will lead to the payment of therapeutic cannabis and cannabis products through health insurance. Another goal is set to use the enormous therapeutic potential of CBD, not only THC.
KOPAC was established as an independent initiative, which is loosely based on the Committee’s activities for medical cannabis. The Association, through patient associations such as the Coalition for Health will enter the legislative and regulatory processes. Patients in KOPAC organization will be provided with professional support from doctors and other experts who are members of KOPAC and its board of directors. The current objective of the association is access to treatment; once it finally happens, KOPAC will initiate a process that will lead to the payment of therapeutic cannabis and cannabis products through health insurance.
The current situation of therapeutic cannabis in the Czech Republic
Cannabis in the Czech Republic for treatment was legalized by changing the Addictive Substances Act and the Act on Pharmaceuticals in March 2013. This legalized cannabis for therapeutic prescription through electronic prescription. The Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, respectively managed by the State Institute for Drug Control, has for over 12 months failed to launch an electronic registry of these prescriptions, as required under the law, and thus so far not a single doctor can prescribe cannabis.
The Ministry of Health, still under the leadership of former Minister Leos Heger issued a decree addition, limiting the types of cannabis to only four types, which prevents the use of other clinically beneficial types of non-technical cannabis, but also industrial hemp research, treatment and prevention of diseases. In the same decree Heger and his officials limited with no reason the diagnosis, age, and last but not least, the allowed dosage per month. Quantitative limits under the effective dose thus successfully prevented the introduction of effective treatment for most patients.
Activities of the patient organization
The Patient organizations KOPAC aims to promote clinical treatment using cannabis-based medicine, both towards the public and towards patients and physicians. For this purpose, we have placed on its website www.spolek-kopac.cz links to materials of the American organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which gives beneficial advice on how cannabis can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of various health problems. For patients, who become members of this organization, there will be seminars, brochures and on online consultations with experts available. Patients can also contact the KOPAC association for legal advice.
KOPAC also aims to develop research in the field of the medical use of cannabis and its dosage forms. To that end, we became a member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), which focuses on the exchange of information between researchers, doctors and patients.
The KOPAC association is funded by member contributions; currently preparing a grant application to several foundations.
How to join
Anyone interested in membership can fill out an online application form at www.spolek-kopac.cz. This form is also available to download, print and can be sent by post. Membership is open either to patients, who are interested in the legal treatment of cannabis, but also to citizens, who are interested and want to support us. Support may be in addition to payment of the membership fee in the form of a financial, symbolic, or some form of volunteer work. All data is treated confidentially and is associated with the payment of the membership fee. Membership provides free use of all the above activities and services of the association.
All information about the patient association for the treatment of cannabis by Kopac can be found on www.spolek-kopac.cz.
Journalists please contact the spokesperson of the association
Vendula Běláčková (firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 721818692).