Faster access to cannabis-based medicines

A report published by Gov.uk earlier this week outlined how new legislation will soon allow patients to receive cannabis based medicines within days; not months.


Import restrictions have been changed to ensure those using medical cannabis as a treatment avoid encountering disruptions to their prescriptions. Up until now, legal restrictions have meant patients have been waiting often several weeks or months at a time to receive their medication, which has been causing unnecessary breaks in treatment regimes, resulting in pain or symptoms of complex needs such as severe epilepsy making more occurrences and disrupting everyday life.


In full support

The Primary Care Cannabis Network is in full support of the recent changes in legislation, which enables bulk imports of medical cannabis into the UK. This is a step in the right direction from the UK Government, which will assist with improving patient access to cannabis-based medical products and hopefully will result in reduced costs for patients for cannabis based medical products.


Currently, most cannabis-based medical products are imported from foreign countries as there are still restrictions surrounding growing the plant within the UK.


Experts at Gov.UK explain: “The new restrictions safeguard against addiction and the misuse of drugs for patients with prescriptions for unlicensed medicines, such as medicinal cannabis.


They currently need to have their prescription reviewed every 30 days by specialist doctors, which can lead to delays in treatment if there are also delays to imports.”


When will changes take place?

The new measures - to be implemented by the Home Office and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency - will take place from today, Monday 2 March.


Although specialist doctors in the UK have been able to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients since late 2018; it has taken until March 2020 for changes to importation to take place. Next to take place are changes to costs; as current private prescriptions can cost patients anything from £2-3k.


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Every time I meet the families of young people dealing so bravely with childhood epilepsy, I am reminded of just how much they have been through”.


The changes made today are a tremendous step towards improving the supply of cannabis-based medicinal products by helping to ensure quicker and more reliable access for patients.”


The Primary Care Cannabis Network is proud to support the work of Drug Science; helping to create awareness around Project TWENTY21, which is generating more evidence into the positive use of medical cannabis, with an aim to enrol 20,000 patients by the end of 2021, the project will create evidence to show the effectiveness of medical cannabis as a treatment to complex needs. Not only this, but those who are on the trial, will benefit from heavily subsidised costs to their prescriptions.


The Primary Care Cannabis Network aims to expand the knowledge of cannabis-based medical treatments and is focussed on academic research, education, key-papers and open discussions. We focus specifically on the needs of GPs and as more GPs across the UK reach out to the Primary Care Cannabis Network for more information on Medical Cannabis, a bigger community is forming which will enable GPs to confidently work together and with specialists to understand the various regulatory pathways that exist within the UK.


Moving forwards into 2020, the PCCN will host a series of events on Medical Cannabis and will also be key-note speakers at other seminars within industry. For more information on these events or to be kept up-to-date with the latest news and member meeting, subscribe to our Journal Club today.