Cannabis: Prescriptions

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many prescriptions for medical cannabis have been issued on the NHS since the rescheduling of cannabis based products.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill 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 (NHSBSA) is only able to provide information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines that have been prescribed and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority. It 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 a NHS prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement between November 2018 and June 2019.

Month

Licensed cannabis-based medicines

Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines

Nabilone

Sativex

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

2

May 2019

59

176

2

June 2019

47

187

0

Total

381

1,372

12

In addition to the above, 185 patients have accessed Epidiolex/Epidyolex though the manufacturer’s (GW Pharma) early access programmes ahead of a licensing decision by the European Medicines Agency.

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