Several Czech doctors, patients and scientists on Tuesday launched a petition demanding the legalization of medicinal marihuana. The organizers believe the ban on using marihuana in treating MS, Parkinson’s, cancer, AIDS and other diseases restricts patients’ right to determine their treatment. The Czech Health Ministry said that a cannabis-based drug, Sativex, is already available on prescriptions; however, legalizing medicinal marihuana would require a wide public debate. One of the organizers, a leading Czech drug expert, Tomáš Zábranský from Charles University’s medicine faculty, said they did not want to legalize marihuana as a recreational drug. Surveys show that around 78 percent of Czechs support the legalization of medicinal cannabis, Mr Zábranský added.
The Health Ministry has announced its decision to publish the reference prices of medical goods including medicines, equipment and materials. Minister Leos Heger said this was being done in order to curb corruption and overpricing. The minister said the list could save hospitals up to 5 billion crowns a year. The list will also be accessible to the public.
The Czech Constitutional Court has just issued a verdict in favor of a mother fighting to prevent her ten-year-old son – a perfectly healthy boy -from being returned to a psychiatric hospital. The boy had already spent six months there during his parents’ custody battle on the basis of a previous court ruling. The court dealt with the case at the instigation of the boy’s father who demanded that the boy be taken from his mother’s care because she was biased against him and was having a bad influence on the child.
The news website idnes has reported that the average salary for Czech doctors and dentists reached 50,000 crowns per month in 2010. According to the website, salaries improved by 3.7 percent from the previous year. Nurses at public hospitals earned an average of 27,000 crowns per month (the equivalent of around 1,600 US dollars) –some 4,000 crowns more than at private facilities. The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic is just under 24,000 crowns per month. Doctors’ salaries will further increase this year following an intense campaign where they threatened to walk out in protest over pay.
Police raided a marijuana plant near the town of Teplice on Wednesday, confiscating some 450 marijuana plants and arresting one foreign national. According to a police spokeswoman, the plant was located on the ground floor, in the premises of a space that formerly had been used for retail businesses. Local police collaborated with the foreigners’ police unit in uncovering the plant. It is the second larger marijuana plant that has been raided in July of this year.
The oldest Czech citizen, 107-year-old Marie Třešnáková, died on Friday, the daily Právo reported on Tuesday. Mrs. Třešnáková had not been feeling well in the weeks before that, a spokesperson for the elderly persons’ home where she was living since 1994 told the newspaper. Following the death of Marie Třešnáková, the currently oldest resident of the Czech Republic is Evangelie Čarasová, who turned 107 in February. She was born in Greece and escaped to Czechoslovakia during the civil war in her native country, in 1948. Her recipe for a long life is a quiet and modest lifestyle, consuming lots of dairy products and avoiding alcohol. The oldest living human world-wide is Besse Cooper, from Georgia, America. She will be turning 115 in a month.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel who is still recovering from a bad respiratory infection in March has been moved to his country cottage. An assistant to Mr Havel said his health had slightly improved over the past week and doctors were hoping that the bracing country air would do him good. The former president has been plagued by respiratory infections ever since he had part of his right lung removed due to cancer 15 years ago.
Former Czech president Václav Havel, who is 74, remains in poor health, his wife told the news website aha.cz on Wednesday. Mr Havel, who was hospitalized in March with a respiratory infection and recently underwent treatment in a medical spa, has not been able to leave the house. In his Prague home, Václav Havel is attended by doctors and nuns; Ms Havlová also said the former head of state has been unable to sleep. An assistant to Mr Havel said however his health had slightly improved over the past week, and he was now planning a trip to his beloved country house, Hrádeček.
The lower house of Parliament is now debating the latest of the government’s comprehensive reform measures, this time dealing with health care. No criticism has been spared on this round of bills, which cover standard, special and emergency medical services, and more modifications to it are sure to come. Even so, a more definitive picture of health care reform is taking shape; Christian Falvey looks at what it entails.
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