Patients to get faster access to cannabis-based medicines

New import rules mean patients will get their treatment in days rather than months.

Ian Snug
3 March 2020
Cannabis

The Home Office is reducing the import restrictions on cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

Patients prescribed cannabis-based medicines will be able to get their treatment in days rather than months, according to the government.

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The Department of Health and Social Care has worked alongside the Home Office to reduce the import restrictions on cannabis-based products for medicinal use.

As the majority of cannabis-based medicines are imported from foreign countries. Export restrictions mean it can take weeks or months for the drugs to reach the patients in the UK. For example, in Canada, an export certificate can take 4 to 8 weeks.

According to the government, the new rules mean patients can get their treatment in days rather than months.

It follows the law change in October 2018 to allow specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use where clinically appropriate in the UK.

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Improving the supply.

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.

“But we still have a long way to go. We need more research into the quality and safety of these medicines, and to do all we can to cut down the costs and remove barriers so that, when appropriate, patients can access it, including on the NHS.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel added; “I have taken swift action to allow specialist doctors to issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicinal products, when they consider their patients would benefit from this treatment.

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“This will allow patients and their families with challenging conditions to access them more easily, when appropriate, to ensure they can be treated in days, not months.”

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