Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Former WHO Deputy Regional Director for Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a 'Third Intifada'?

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservist as Gaza death toll soars

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Kiev declares 24-hour ceasefire to aid MH17 probe

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged in 'terrorist' killings

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

France

France gives go-ahead to cannabis-based drug

© GW Pharmaceuticals

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-09

France’s health ministry announced Thursday it had approved the use of Sativex, a cannabinoid mouth spray, to treat patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). The drug is the first marijuana-based medicine to be made available in the country.

While the decision to approve Sativex may seem revolutionary for France, the prescription of the drug will be extremely limited. The spray will only be recommended for MS patients with “severe muscle spasms (spasticity), resistant to other treatments,” according to the health ministry, which also specified that only neurologists and physical therapists will have the right to prescribe it at first.

Once on the market, Sativex can prescribed for up to six months, the national health monitoring agency (which approved the drug and set its conditions of use) told French daily Le Monde in a statement. The medication will be available at pharmacies, where it will be stocked in a safe with other opiate-based drugs.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine first raised the issue of approving cannabis-based medications in June, when she signed an order authorising the national health agency to look at requests to commercialise such products. Although many countries – including Holland, Canada, Germany, Britain and even some US states – already allow the use of medical marijuana, France has been hesitant to embrace the drug’s therapeutic properties until now.

Sativex, which is made by the British company GW Pharmaceuticals and has already been approved in more than 20 countries, still has a few hoops to jump through before hitting the French market. It must go through the country’s highest health body before a price and reimbursement rate can be decided. The drug is expected to be made available in 2015.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-01-09

  • USA

    Marijuana shops open in Colorado

    Read more

  • URUGUAY

    Uruguay votes to legalise marijuana production

    Read more

  • USA

    Californians reject proposal to legalise marijuana

    Read more

COMMENT(S)