July 28, 2009 – An interesting article from Workforce Management:
Now that more states are legalizing the sale of the marijuana used solely as a medicine, the next hurdle for reformers who say the drug is more cost-effective than pharmaceuticals is getting those who pay for health care—insurers and employers—to reimburse patients for its use.
Reimbursing patients who use it could push them away from otherwise costly drugs that some advocates say are not as effective. Employers, as payers of health care, should champion the legalization of medical marijuana as a potential cost-saving tool, advocates say.
It’s certainly the case that many patients can effectively treat specific conditions with marijuana at a lower cost than the pharmaceutical alternatives. For starters, marijuana is vastly cheaper than Marinol, which contains the same main ingredient. It would be interesting to see some research into how medical costs for marijuana patients compare overall to those of patients treating the same conditions with other drugs. While you’re at it, it would worth investigating which group is happier with their medicine.
To whatever extent medical marijuana offers savings on health care costs, it’s another example of the massive often-invisible expenses created by the insane federal prohibition of medical marijuana. It’s presently illegal under federal law for health care providers to cover marijuana-related expenses, which just goes to show how DEA raids were just one dimension of the government’s continuing war on medical marijuana. Source.