The Israel Medical Association voiced strong opposition to a private members’
bill that would allow every physician, including general practitioners, to give
patients prescriptions for medical cannabis.
IMA chairman Dr. Leonid
Eidelman sent a letter on Thursday to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni about the
bill, due to be discussed in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on
Sunday. The bill was introduced by Likud MKs Haim Katz and Moshe
In his letter, Eidelman said that marijuana is registered by the
state as a “dangerous drug,” illegal to possess and use except for specific
medical uses in seriously ill patients. A license to consume it is given only
when no other treatment has been helpful. Only a small number of medical experts
today are allowed to prescribe it, due to the risk that it will reach the hands
of non-patients for “recreational uses.”
Current medical knowledge has
not yet made it possible to expand the authority to all physicians to prescribe
medical marijuana, the IMA chairman said. “In the medical literature as well,
there is an argument whether it should even be considered a drug.
is no clear standardization about the dosage, concentration and type of drug
delivery suitable for medical marijuana.”
In addition, Eidelman said,
cannabis is not registered in the Health Ministry as a drug, and its efficacy
and safety for most medical uses are as yet unproven.
The bill, Eidelman
wrote, involves individual general practitioners, who will be forced to cope
with patient demands for its use as a “magic medicine” to replace all other
medications, which is not correct.
“We often hear of family doctors who
are threatened with verbal and even physical violence if they do not prescribe
medical marijuana,” he said. “This situation is insufferable, and the bill will
only make it worse. This proposal will produce a dangerous jump and turn medical
marijuana into an accessible product that could endanger the public, who would
not receive better and more suitable treatment, and it would put patients as
well as doctors at risk.”