Canadian Cultivator Seeks Ban on ‘Kickbacks’ to Physicians

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Canada-based medical cannabis producer Tilray has left the country’s main industry lobbying group and wants to see a code of ethics developed to outlaw compensation to physicians, saying it’s been approached by clinics asking for payment in exchange for patient referrals.

Other Canadian growers also have said they’ve  experienced a similar situation, as doctors are allegedly steering patients toward certain cannabis suppliers. In Canada, patients must buy directly from cultivators and have it mailed to their home or healthcare provider.

Tilray, owned by Privateer Holdings, said the requests for payments are essentially kickbacks. Doctors in Canada are prohibited from receiving cash, gifts or other incentives for patient referrals, but some are saying the payments are necessary to offset the cost of verifying patient information or allaying costs for patients not covered by medicare, according to the National Post.

Tilray wants a code of ethics established that would forbid growers from paying fees to doctors, which the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association says would make it difficult for members to conduct research and may violate competition laws.

Health Canada said it’s concerned about the reports and will look into the issue.