France is set to launch a free medical cannabis program where participants will be required to shoulder all expenses and give the products free of charge.
According to a decree signed by the French Minister of Solidarity and Health, the experimental program will be supplied with medical cannabis and distributed to about 3,000 patients at no cost. The decree was signed on Friday, with a supplier application procedure published on Monday by the Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products.
The program indicates the presence of the long-awaited cannabis regulatory framework, and it is expected to kick off as soon as the French government secures suppliers.
The new decree stipulates that the participating suppliers will assume the role—including distribution to pharmacies across the country—at no cost to the French government or the public fund. The supplying companies will also be required to comply with pharmaceutical ethics.
The project, expected to last two years, does not appear to offer revenue opportunities to the companies supplying medical cannabis. According to the decree, the participating companies may not expect any guaranteed upper hand due to their participation, especially if they legalize cannabis for medical purposes.
Some industry experts say that the program offers no value in return for the associated risks and expenses.
The CEO of Augur Associates, a cannabis consultancy firm, Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy, stated that France expects the private sector to shoulder all costs and responsibilities of the trial program for no benefits or even the assurance that the market will open afterward.
Jeanroy believes that the government may not find suppliers, and he worries that patients who have been waiting a long time will continue to suffer.
According to the scientific committee’s chair on medical cannabis, Nicolas Authier, in the event of legalization, participants will be already on the market, which will give them an advantage.