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IACM-Bulletin of 24 March 2013

Germany: Selling of Sativex may be stopped after disagreement on acceptable price

GW Pharmaceuticals and Almirall may stop selling their cannabis drug Sativex in Germany after health authorities refused to agree a price that the companies view as acceptable. GW - which developed the spray as a treatment for spasticity in multiple sclerosis - said the German authorities had determined a price that was significantly lower than in other EURopean countries. According to an article in the Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung (German Pharmacists Journal) Almirall will get only between 150 and 173.30 EURos reimbursed by the German health insurances in the future. Currently, Sativex costs 598 EURos in German pharmacies

In June 2012 the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), the national reimbursement authority, determined that Sativex provides added benefit over current treatment options in the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis. The next step in the process has been for Almirall to negotiate a price for Sativex with the German National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds. “After several months of inconclusive discussions, Almirall recently attended a meeting with an arbitration board,“ GW said in a press release. “The outcome of this meeting, which was communicated to Almirall today, was the determination of a price significantly lower than the reimbursed Sativex price in other EURopean countries. Sativex is one of several recent examples of new medicines that have not been appropriately valued by the new German reimbursement system. (…) Our partners, Almirall, consider the German price to be unacceptable and plan to take all necessary steps to challenge the decision, which may include suspension or withdrawal of supply in Germany, whilst they pursue a reasonable solution,” GW added.

Reuters of 19 March 2013

GW Pharmaceuticals of 19 March 2013

Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung of 20 March 2013

News in brief

Canada: Medical education event
The University of British Columbia in partnership with the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) will organize “Cannabinoids in Clinical Practice” on 21 June, a full day continuing medical education (CME) event. Please read more

World: The consumption of cannabis is stable
Cannabis is the world’s most widely used illegal substance with “between 119 and 224 million cannabis users worldwide, and consumption is stable,” according to the recent
World Drug Report of the United Nations.

Science/Animal: Cannabinoids may reduce neuropathic pain due to a treatment with cisplatin
Animal research shows that local administration of CB1 receptor agonists or systemic administration of CB2 receptor agonists, “may serve as new therapeutic alternatives for symptom management in painful neuropathy associated with cisplatin treatment.” Cisplatin is used in the treatment of cancer.
Departamento de Farmacología y Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain.
Vera G, et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Feb 27. [in press]

Science/Animal: Anxiety by CB1 receptor blockade is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system
Animal experiments with mice demonstrate that important effects, including reduced appetite and increased anxiety, of CB1 receptor blockade are expressed via activation of peripheral sympathetic activity. Researchers noted that “CB1 receptors modulate bidirectional circuits between the periphery and the brain to regulate feeding and other behaviors.”
School of Biology, Complutense University-Instituto Universitario de Investigación Neuroquímica, Madrid, Spain.
Bellocchio L, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110(12):4786-91.

Science/Animal: Cannabidiolic acid and ondansetron act synergistically in reducing nausea
In an animal model of nausea with rats cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) at low doses reduced nausea. In combination with very low doses of the highly effective anti-nausea drug ondansetron there was a synergistic effect. Authors concluded that “combining low doses of CBDA and OND will more effectively treat acute nausea in chemotherapy patients.”
Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Canada.
Rock E and Parker L. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar 12. [in press]

Science/Animal: Cannabinoids improve bladder inflammation
A synthetic cannabinoid, which activates the CB2 receptor, reduced experimental bladder inflammation in animals. Authors wrote that “the current study indicates that CB2 is a potential therapeutic target for treatment of bladder inflammation and pain in patients.”
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wiscosin-Madison, USA.
Wang ZY, et al. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2013 Mar 20. [in press]

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