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São Paulo government paid $2 million for cannabis-based medicine

In Brazil, health is a fundamental right granted by the Brazilian Universal Health System (SUS) protected by the Constitution of 1988. SUS is composed of a set of health services and actions. Sao Paulo’s government spent about $2 million for medicine based on cannabis to treat epilepsy and other multiple diseases. 78 patients are already being treated while 123 authorizations have been met.

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This picture show a cannabis plant.

São Paulo’s government has already spent $2 million (R$ 8,913,109.59) for cannabis-based medicine.

The amount was paid for the treatment of 201 patients. These patients went to court to obtain the medication by SUS (Brazil’s publicly funded health care system).

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Cannabis – a remedy for serious diseases

According to folder data, 123 authorizations have already been approved, at a cost of $1 million (R$ 5,812,634.50) and 78 patients are already being treated.

According to the secretary, the most common diagnosis among patients treated with cannabis is epilepsy, representing 70% of cases.

There are also patients with chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and infantile cerebral palsy, among other diseases.

The figures do not include expenses with lawyers and the time invested by public defenders in these lawsuits.

A bill to access cannabis medicine

In order to clear the judicialization in the supply of cannabis drugs by the SUS, the state congressman Caio França (PSB) filed a bill that provides easy access to cannabis-based drugs by the Unified Health System.

A public hearing was held in São Paulo Parliament. On that occasion, several suggestions were made to the original text.

Victor Hugo Costa Travassos, the coordinator of pharmaceutical-assistance to the Health Secretariat, warned: “I can’t provide the medication without federal legislation.”

Anvisa is promoting a healthy population

Caio França assured that this is only a legal issue, “but I am very sure that our law does not advance competencies that are of the Congress or of Anvisa itself”.

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“Anvisa’s own director-president praised the Law Project. “I do not create any new medicine, as I am not involved in the cultivation agenda, I simply extend Anvisa’s understanding of facilitating the import of individuals to the government of the State of São Paulo,” he said.

“I’m giving the regulations that Victor Hugo is asking to make importing easier, with budget forecast to reduce spending and increase the number of people served, I understand that this law is important,” concluded the deputy.

The project is likely to be approved this year

He is expecting the bill to be adopted this year. “I believe that prejudice is much more about a lack of information.”

“The public hearing that I made, the recorded testimonies of doctors, especially family members, will be decisive in the approval of this proposal. I trust in the common sense and balance of my colleagues”.

The parliamentarian answered about project approval: “The judicialization is responsible for about 30% of expenditures. So if we are at almost $2 million (R$ 10 million) in the current situation, we are talking about $710,000 (R$ 3 million) spent only on judicialization.”

“So it’s just a perspective. As I imagine it will increase from our project, it is natural that what will be saved will also increase, if we dispense with the judicial decision”.

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(Featured image by Wild0ne via Pixabay)

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First published in SECHAT, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Leah Marie Angelou is an LGBTI activist and equality advocate. She has been a writer for several feminism-focused groups for nearly a decade. Her pieces are often focused on career development and the workplace. She also regularly covers personal and micro-finance, business management and entrepreneurship. Recently she has also focused on covering the promising CBD and hemp industry.

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