Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of evidence base on the cost-effectiveness of medical cannabis.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

An initial impact assessment was published alongside The Misuse of Drugs (Amendments) (Cannabis and Licence Fees) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2018. This can be viewed at the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1055/impacts

This set out the approach that the Government proposed to take in assessing the costs and benefits of the change in the law at a population level, with regard to the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM). This framework included potential savings in treatment costs, giving the example of patients with severe epilepsy for whom medicinal use of cannabis could reduce the frequency of seizures and reduce the number of related hospital admissions. This was an initial framework for assessing this policy and as we develop our knowledge in this area, both on the costs and the potential benefits, we can revisit and refine these assessments.

In the meantime, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing clinical guidelines on the appropriate use of CBPM based on the best available evidence, and the National Institute for Health Research is funding further clinical research on this. More information is available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/documents/themed-calls/cannabis-based%20products/cannabis-based-products-brief.pdf

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