Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all patients who would benefit from medical cannabis are able to access that treatment on prescription on the NHS.

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

Cannabis-based products for medicinal use are no different from other medicines, and existing systems for the funding of both licensed and unlicensed medicines apply.

Any medicines which receive a marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency or European Medicines Agency will be assessed for cost effectiveness by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. This is the foundation of National Health Service decisions about routine funding, and applies to all licensed medicines. For unlicensed medicines, the normal NHS medicines governance systems apply, as they do to all locally funded unlicensed treatments. These processes support good clinical practice and safe and effective prescribing. Decisions will be taken, at NHS Trust level on a case by case basis, based on the needs of the individual patient and the evidence of efficacy and cost effectiveness available.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has heard patients report difficulties in accessing medicinal cannabis. As a result, he asked the Department to work closely with NHS England to undertake a rapid process evaluation. This is underway and will review NHS system processes to identify and make recommendations to address any barriers to clinically appropriate prescribing, should they exist.

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