Most German pharmacists support medical marijuana, but they want more info

An organization that analyzes Germany’s pharmacy market recently completed an extensive survey on the sector’s views of medical cannabis.

A little more than 500 German pharmacists participated in online interviews for Aposcope, and the results – published by trade newspaper Apotheke Adhoc – may shed valuable light on how companies could approach the fast-growing medical cannabis sector in the country.

Pharmacists play a key role in medical marijuana distribution in Germany because they are the only legal point of sale.

According to the paid report, the majority of pharmacists in Germany generally favor medical cannabis – as long as they’re the ones responsible for dispensing it.

Three-quarters believe the German medical cannabis market will continue to grow, and among that group, 15% said growth will be strong.

However, Aposcope CEO Thomas Bellartz said medical cannabis “still plays a subordinate role in the day-to-day business of pharmacies.”

About half the pharmacists believe they are well informed about medical cannabis, but fewer than 5% responded they are “very well” informed. The rest said they were poorly or very poorly informed.

They reported a desire for more information, including how to calculate price, dispense the products and related legal issues.

The pharmacists mostly favored receiving information from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), followed by associations of pharmacists at a state level, the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacies, the German Pharmacists’ Association and health insurers.

The desire for information from importers, distributors or producers came behind those institutions.

Currently, pharmacists obtain information through specialized media and portals, followed by general media and the internet. Pharmacy associations trailed way behind.

Manufacturers and wholesalers come after those, which suggests there is plenty of fertile ground for education.

German imports of medical cannabis increased drastically during the second quarter of 2019.

Recently, the Dutch government agreed to increase the quantities shipped to its neighboring country.

Until the first domestic harvests become available at the end of 2020, the market is totally dependent on imports. Currently, all imports into Germany come from the Netherlands and Canada.