Churchville, N.Y. – A mother from Churchville is finally able to get medical marijuana for her daughter who has epilepsy. But the cost of the drug has put it nearly out of reach.
“The cost is astronomical,” Christine Emerson told 13 WHAM’s Jane Flasch.
Her daughter Julia turns 10 next week. Medical marijuana has helped to control seizures that otherwise would send her to the emergency room at least once a week.
Yet the Emersons have not been able to get the proper concentration from the dispensary in Rochester.
“They didn’t have what we needed. She would have been getting too much of the component that makes you high,” Emerson explained.
Instead, she travels to Binghamton. There she pays $1,000 for a one-month supply. If she lived in Colorado, the same product would be one-third the price.
“I feel like the state is making it unreasonable for patients,” said Emerson.
The drug is considered experimental and is not covered by insurance. It also must be paid for in cash.
The NY Department of Health approves prices set for medical marijuana. In the six months, since the drug was first allowed to be sold, a new report suggests there’s room for improvement.
Just 24 doctors in Monroe County have completed the course to certify patients. A total of 99 patients have been certified. The health department now recommends patients be offered a published list of registered doctors and that nurse practitioners also be allowed to certify patients. It wants to expand to allow five more companies to operate growing operations and pharmacies.
However the report released Tuesday does not take on the issue of cost.
“The state could have said, ‘No it’s really too much’ – especially when it’s for a patient who needs it every day,” Emerson said.