Marijuana - AP - 2007
A marijuana plant is seen at a plantation in Mexico on Sept. 21, 2007. Photo by AP
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Medicinal marijuana should be included as a medication covered in the national health basket, a Health Ministry committee has recommended.

Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Boaz Lev headed the committee, which estimated that the price of medicinal marijuana will rise to 400 shekels per month, up from its current price of 360 shekels. The number is based on the medical dosage that each patient is allowed every month.

Until the medicine is included in the national health basket, the price will continue to rise. The committee explained that the cost of selling medicinal marijuana includes the cost of production and distribution.

The committee also recommended expanding the number of doctors authorized to prescribe the drug to patients. Today, a slim number of specific doctors are allowed to prescribe it.

The ministry estimates that prescriptions for medicinal marijuana will have risen by 66 percent by the end of 2010. So far, it is estimated that 4,000 prescriptions have been written for medicinal marijuana, a number that is expected to rise to 5,000 by the end of 2010.

With the new committee recommendations, the ministry estimates that the number of medicinal marijuana users will be 40,000.