UK’s NHS Refuses Licensed Cannabis Meds

Here in the U.S.A., we’re concerned about the way the Federal government seems to be going back on their promise not to prosecute individual users of medical marijuana in those states where such usage has been decriminalized. We are not alone in our fears and concerns. Recently, The Guardian shared a story which has been subsequently picked up by Cannabis Culture magazine.

Apparently, the NHS – that’s the National Health Service in the United Kingdom – has been denying multiple sclerosis patients access to a cannabis-derived drug which has already been approved by government regulators for such use.

Specifically, doctors who specialize in the care and treatment of MS patients are saying that PCTs (primary care trusts) are causing their patients’ pain to be increased because they’re refusing them the use of a drug called Sativex, which is derived from cannabis. Some of the PCT representatives argue that this is because they don’t feel the £11/day drug is worth the expense, but physicians disagree, and say it’s the only medication that really helps.

Sativex is used to relive muscle stiffnes,s or spasticity, commonly suffered by Multiple Sclerosis patients. It’s the first cannabis-derived drug to be licensed for use in the UK, and has been so since the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) approved it roughly a year ago. It comes in the form of an oral spray, and can only be prescribed by doctors whose practices concentrate on MS patients, including pain consultants and neurologists. Further, only patients who had significant negative side effects from other medications, or were not helped by other drugs, are allowed to take it.

These conditions are all fairly consistent with regard to cannabinoid drugs used around the world. The problem is that NHS officials have decided that, at least in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Suffolk, Yorkshire, and southwest England, the drug may not be used. This means that doctors are unable to prescribe a licensed drug to their patients in need.

We’ll be waiting and watching as this story unfolds, but for now, the most recent information is that twenty-five patients overseen by the Dartford and Gravesham PCT who are already on the drug will be able to continue taking it, but no new patients will be granted funding for the medication.

It’s important to remember, however, that this issue is really about the COST of healthcare, and the way decisions are made. If Sativex was not a cannabis-derived drug, the same problems might still occur.

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4 Responses to UK’s NHS Refuses Licensed Cannabis Meds

  1. SkillitHits247 says:

    Damn, it is obvious why cannabis meds is still being excluded as a prescribed medication… 1 medicine for dozens of illnesses! This plant can take down at least half the pharmaceutical chemical medications, which means money is no longer flowing to the big corporations’.

  2. kushie q says:

    I completely agree the whole issue on the use of cannabis is merely money. If not that then why would anyone want to keep something that helps ill people deal with their problems, if not money. What a sad world we live in that worrys about money in someone’s pocket more than those ill individuals who need relief.

  3. lindzzz says:

    Even after the drug is licensed they try to stop patients from getting it. Sometimes it seems like there is no consideration for human suffering. A person with MS deserves any comfort or relief from suffering that they can get.

  4. reese 10 says:

    It’s like the Emperor Who Wore No Clothes, people are afraid to go against the top companies who want MMJ to remain evil. Duh, it’s not rocket science. It’s been proven to work on illness and could save the planet, but not allowed. How come everybody’s so f**kin’ stupid? Why would something this wonderful be banned unless there was a total conspiracy?