Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 2nd July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2019 to Question 266815 on Cannabis: Medical Treatments, how many prescriptions for the use of medicinal cannabis were issued in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

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

NHS England and NHS Improvement are using extant systems to monitor use of the newly rescheduled unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in England. In England, these systems monitor the number of items dispensed and associated costs in primary care and the volume of products used and associated cost in secondary care. NHS England and NHS Improvement Controlled Drug Accountable Officers are also collecting local intelligence in both the National Health Service and independent sector.

The NHS Business Services Authority is only able to provide information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines that have been dispensed and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority. The NHS Business Services Authority does not hold information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines which have been issued but not fulfilled.

The following table shows the number of items for Nabilone and Sativex (licensed cannabis-based medicines) and unlicensed cannabis-based medicines that were prescribed on an NHS prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement since May 2018.

Month

Nabilone

Sativex

Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines

May 2018

45

183

June 2018

42

157

July 2018

48

170

2*

August 2018

54

161

September 2018

45

172

1*

October 2018

50

164

November 2018

46

175

2

December 2018

49

181

1

January 2019

44

167

2

February 2019

36

159

1

March 2019

51

171

2

April 2019

49

156

0

May 2019

Data not yet available

Data not yet available

2

Note: * These figures represent prescribing of unlicensed cannabis-based medicines imported on a Home Office licence.

The following table shows the same products listed above covering the same time period but this data relates to private prescribing on an FP10PCD where the forms have been submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reporting and monitoring purposes only.

Month

Nabilone

Sativex

Epidiolex

Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines

May 2018

0

1

0

Jun 2018

0

3

0

July 2018

0

2

0

August 2018

0

1

0

September 2018

0

3

0

October 2018

0

3

0

November 2018

0

1

0

0

December 2018

0

6

0

0

January 2019

0

5

0

4

February 2019

0

3

1

2

March 2019

0

3

0

3

April 2019

1

2

0

0

May 2019

Data not yet available

Data not yet available

Data not yet available

1

Unlike NHS primary care where all dispensed prescriptions are processed centrally, this is not the case for secondary care. This information is collected by a third party and not routinely published.

Intelligence from NHS England and NHS Improvement Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers is that, up until the end of March 2019, five patients have had private prescriptions issued for a cannabis-based product for medicinal use in independent secondary/tertiary care in England.

145 patients have accessed Epidiolex though GW Pharma’s early access programmes ahead of a licensing decision by the European Medicines Agency.

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