Roughly one year after the federal election in September 2021, the German government’s plans to legalize cannabis for recreational use have further taken shape. German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach has introduced a document on the key points of the planned legislative changes on Wednesday, 26 October 2022. According to this document, cultivation, distribution and taxation — as well as advertisement for recreational use — of cannabis will be specifically regulated.
EUR 4.30 instead of EUR 9.52 per gram: The reimbursable base price for medical cannabis cultivated in Germany has been almost cut in half whereas the base price for imported cannabis flowers remains unaffected. According to an arbitration ruling of 17 June 2022, a base price of EUR 4.30 (plus surcharges of 90% or 100%) per gram is reimbursable for cannabis flowers cultivated in Germany. Prior to the ruling, statutory health insurance funds reimbursed a base price of EUR 9.52 per gram plus varying surcharges for all cannabis flowers. This also applied to cannabis flowers cultivated in Germany and sold to pharmacies for a fixed price of only EUR 4.30 per gram.
In its recent judgment (24 March 2022 – C-533/20, Somogy Megyei Kormányhivatal/Upfield Hungary Kft.), the European Court of Justice has decided how specific the labeling of vitamins in the list of ingredients of food must be. The court ruled that indicating the specific vitamin formulation (e.g., “cholecalciferol”) is unnecessary. Rather, using the more general name of the vitamin such as “Vitamin D” in the list of ingredients is sufficient. In addition, the judgment of the court can be understood in such a way that indicating the more complex vitamin formulation in the list of ingredients might even be prohibited.
In Germany, the digitalization of the healthcare market is a hot topic. “Digital health” is prominently featured in the coalition agreement of the newly elected German federal government. At the same time, there is still skepticism within the medical community on whether quality standards might fall victim to these rapid developments. Now, the German Federal Civil Court has addressed some of those concerns. In its December 2021 ruling (I ZR 146/20), the court has ruled that advertisement for comprehensive tele-treatment of patients (Fernbehandlung) violates applicable law.
As of 1 January 2022, Germany has set up a mandatory public lobbying register. Its broad scope covers – similar to the EU transparency register – every entity which regularly communicates with the German federal executive or legislative to represent and further its interests. As a result, every company with a public affairs department may fall under its scope. Such companies will need to complete their initial registration by 28 February 2022.
The heads of the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party presented the coalition agreement of the newly elected German federal government on Wednesday, 24 November 2021. One focus lies on the healthcare and life sciences sector. From driving forward the digitalization of the healthcare market, ensuring the sufficient supply of medicinal products and vaccines, and more restrictions on the prices of medicinal products, to strengthening pharmacies in underserved areas and legalizing recreational cannabis, the new government has set itself a substantive health agenda for the next four years.