French ANSM Recommends Legalising Medical Cannabis

The French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety, ANSM, recommended last Thursday the implementation of a medical cannabis regime in France. The agency stated that the availability of medical cannabis in the country should be restricted to specific conditions and situations.

The committee in charge of the review stated that it is “relevant to authorise cannabis for medical use for patients in special clinical situations, as well as for patients whose pain alleviation or usual treatments are insufficient or ineffective, whether in the form of a medicine, or not.”

The conditions for which medical cannabis could be prescribed include: chronic pain, severe forms of epilepsy, as part of oncological acre, palliative care, and multiple sclerosis.

As mentioned by the French Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn earlier this year, the government sees no reason to rule out legalising medical cannabis, including in the form of flower, if it can be used to treat pain. The nuance offered by the ANSM as to whether medical cannabis should be made available “in the form of a medicine, or not” hints that this option is still on the table for the government.

 
 

Although these conclusions are only recommendations, that will need to be approved by the government, they represent a positive approach to medical cannabis in France.

A full review of medical cannabis is expected by 2019. The next step for this committee is to research how medical cannabis should be made available in France. In the meantime, the French Ministry of Health is now expected to decide whether or not to implement the recommendations of the ANSM.

Pierre-Yves Galléty leads on Hanway Associates’ French projects. For insights and advisory on developments in French please contact us or sign up to our newsletter below.