Sanity Group puts people first to improve patient access and drive innovation, and utilises the health benefits of cannabinoid medicines.
Putting people first, as well as cross-stakeholder co-operation, are the keys to ensure fair access to medicinal cannabis for patients and to improve their quality of life. Therefore, it is Sanity Group’s mission to work together with doctors, pharmacists, health insurance companies, academia and industry to unlock the health benefits of cannabinoids and to provide every patient with optimal cannabinoid medicines (see Medical Cannabis Network Quarterly Issue 1 for a full report on Sanity Group, its vision, structure, and team).
Cannabinoid medicines and the medicinal cannabis patient’s journey in Germany
The German healthcare system is very complex, both with regard to its regulatory basis and the various interactions between its healthcare stakeholders. It is therefore not surprising that patients’ journey to obtain medicinal cannabis in Germany is a long and difficult process with some hurdles along the way. Sanity Group´s subsidiary, Vayamed, helps to shed some light on the patient journey (see infographic).
The medical cannabis patient’s journey begins with a doctor’s appointment – however, finding a doctor who is willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis is not easy. Many practitioners still are inexperienced or have doubts or no resources to deal with the topic.
The cannabis prescription issued to the patient can either be a private prescription or a statutory health insurance prescription. It has to be fully accurate and comprehensive, detailing the strain, amount and dose of treatment; otherwise it will be considered invalid. Similarly, applications for reimbursement have to be accurate and complete, otherwise the cover of the costs will be denied.
Since 2017, German statutory health insurance funds have covered the costs of cannabis medicines under strict conditions, to be assessed by the prescribing physician:
- A serious illness must be present;
- A recognised medical treatment is not available or is not possible according to a medical opinion; and
- There is a prospect of a noticeable improvement over the course of the treatment.
Once the patients have been issued a prescription by their doctor, as well as approval of reimbursement by their health insurance company, they must find a pharmacy to fill the prescription. Not every pharmacy offers medicinal cannabis; and some which do provide cannabis can still experience supply shortages.
Sanity Group’s subsidiary Vayamed GmbH works closely together with all stakeholders along the value chain to make the patient’s journey as easy as possible; and to ensure each cannabis patient receives the best medicines for their individual therapy needs.
Vayamed: a new cannabinoid medicines supply hope for German patients
“In order to strengthen the affiliation with the holding company, Sanity Group’s subsidiary concentrating on medicinal cannabis, Sanatio Pharma, is now called Vayamed (vayamed.com). Vayamed’s ultimate goal is to alleviate patients’ symptoms and thus improve their quality of life. To achieve this, Vayamed focuses on developing and selling innovative cannabinoid medicines for the European market,” explains Fabian Friede, Managing Director of Vayamed.
Since Germany’s legalisation of cannabis for medical use in 2017 the industry has been suffering from a lack of supply. Vayamed is actively filling this void by providing doctors, pharmacists, and patients access to high quality medical cannabis or cannabinoid medicines. The company prides itself on maintaining the highest quality of products by carefully selecting its production and logistics partners.
While the therapeutic potential of cannabis is increasingly being recognised within the medical community, many physicians remain reluctant to prescribe it. Limited clinical data, along with the fact that medicinal cannabis in Germany has very limited permitted indications, make it challenging to adequately position cannabis within the current standard of care.
Drawing on its medicinal cannabis expertise, Vayamed provides the medical community and patients with the knowledge, education and support they need to overcome the persisting stigma. A wide range of services is available to address users’ clinical, legal, and practical concerns surrounding medicinal cannabis: for example, Vayamed has established a service hotline, where a team of scientists is available for any questions regarding medicinal cannabis.
Vayamed will soon introduce a new range of cannabis flos (dried whole flower) products with varying THC and CBD concentrations to the market. With these new products, the company’s portfolio will cover a majority of the patients’ needs. Furthermore, Vayamed constantly works on innovations in the cannabis space to better serve patients.
About Sanity Group
Sanity Group and its subsidiaries develop innovative cannabinoid medicines and wellbeing products and make them widely and readily accessible throughout Europe. To utilise the full potential of its health benefits, Sanity Group is investing in fundamental research into the cannabis plant and its active ingredients, as well as in specific areas of application. Equipped with this knowledge, Sanity Group’s team of experts continuously educates healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers; in order to support them to live a healthier life. Subsidiaries of Sanity Group include Vayamed, VAAY and other brands.
Meet the Medical Advisory Board of Sanity Group
In order to fulfil the highest medical standards, it was imperative to bring together the brightest minds on the topic of cannabinoid medicines to form a strong Medical Advisory Board for Sanity Group and Vayamed.
This internationally recognised group of researchers and physicians is committed to facilitating groundbreaking advancements in the emerging field of cannabinoid science. The Board will meet regularly to help define relevant research priorities for the Sanity Group and to ensure contact with the research community, observe the market trends in research, and latest developments for prescriptions (for example, in terms of dosage forms). Furthermore, they will become the go-to persons to answer practical questions about applications from the everyday life of prescribing physicians and pharmacists; and they will represent Sanity Group at training courses, trade fairs, and congresses.
Inaugural members of the Medical Advisory Board include:
Professor Dr Kirsten Müller-Vahl
Professor of Psychiatry, Hannover Medical School
Professor Müller-Vahl is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, Sociology and Psychotherapy at the Hannover Medical School (MHH), Germany. She is a world renowned specialist in both neurology and adult psychiatry. During the last 20 years she has investigated more than 1,500 patients with Tourette syndrome (children and adults). She is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Tourette Association of America (TAA).
As an author she wrote the guidelines for the treatment of TS for both ESSTS and the American Academy of Neurology. She was a founding member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and is the vice president of the organisation since 2015.
Professor Dr Thomas Herdegen
Professor of Pharmacology, Specialist in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Kiel University Hospital
Professor Herdegen is the deputy Head of the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, in Kiel, Germany. He studied human medicine (Würzburg, Vienna), neuroscientific training and research at the Universities of Heidelberg, Yale (USA), San Diego (USA) and Brisbane (Australia); received a Heisenberg scholarship from the DFG; was appointed Professor of Pharmacology at University Hospital Kiel; and is a Specialist in Pharmacology and Toxicology. His specialist areas of work are neuropharmacology and pain pharmacology.
Dr Dennis Stracke
Pharmacist at MediosApotheke Anike Oleski e. Kfr.; Head of Neurology Department, Berlin
Dr Stracke began his licence to practise as a pharmacist in 2006, from September 2006 to February 2010 as a research associate and doctoral candidate at the Institute for Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry in Münster. His doctoral dissertation is titled ‘Inhibition of degenerative processes in an arthrosis model by phenolic constituents from hops (Humulus lupulus)’. From February 2010 until June 2010 Stracke was a research assistant at the Institute of Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry in Münster; since June 2010 he has been a pharmacist at MediosApotheke Anike Oleski e. Kfr.
Dr Marc Seibolt
Head Physician of the day clinic for pain medicine at the Algesiologikum, Munich
Dr Seibolt is a specialist in anaesthesiology; special pain therapy; basic addiction treatment; and emergency medicine. He completed his medical studies at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences and UCLA School of Public Health, Department of Health Services, Los Angeles (USA). His main areas of activity include multimodal pain therapy; drug-based pain therapy; interventional pain therapy; and the treatment of patients with chronic pain and psychological stress. He is a member of the German Pain Society e.V. (DGSS) and the Professional Association of German Anaesthetists (BDA).
What is next for Sanity Group?
“Now that CBD is mainstream in most countries and available in drugstores, it is time for us to step up our game. With our wellbeing CBD brand VAAY, established in February 2020, we have already exceeded all expectations. We are listed at the top online wellness and beauty retailers like Flaconi and Douglas. Our product range varies from sports gels, through bath bombs, to other innovative cosmetic products. Next is the launch of two new and innovative products and market entry into the UK. We are also launching our new functional cosmetics brand based on CBD that will be available soon,” says Finn Hänsel, Managing Director of VAAY and Co-founder of Sanity Group.
VAAY product news
VAAY hemp gummies
These hemp gummies combine the spicy hemp taste with the fine note of liquorice to deliver a unique taste experience. You will also take in 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins B6 and B12 and support the strengthening of your nerves and your immune system – and the adaptogen liquorice not only calms the nerves, it also improves a nervous stomach.
In short: VAAY hemp gummies not only taste good, they also help you through the day – relaxed and healthy. Better try them now!
VAAY CBD skin and massage oil
VAAY CBD skin and massage oil with jojoba oil and warming ginger essence can be applied regularly, for example after sports activities, after showering or to relax before going to bed. The ginger essence promotes the microcirculation in the skin. You feel a pleasant warming and relaxing effect, and at the same time dirt is removed from the skin. The oil has a particularly relaxing effect during a pleasant massage, which helps to calm the body and mind.
CBD products exclusively made for pharmacies
With the new functional cosmetics brand based on CBD combined with botanical extracts focusing on clear indications, Sanity Group is bringing a product specifically composed for sophisticated customers. It will be available in Germany as soon as September. The products are the cool counterpart to the known healing ointments with 100% natural ingredients. Sanity is building the core of its brand, cannabinoid medicines and products by combining a holistic approach with healing components.
Founder & Managing Director
Sanity Group GmbH
This article is for issue 3 of Medical Cannabis Network. Click here to get your free subscription today.