Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd October 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 were issued on the NHS from November 2017 to November 2018.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England and Improvement is 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’s and NHS Improvement’s Controlled Drug Accountable Officers are also collecting local intelligence in both the NHS and independent sector.

The NHS Business Services Authority 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 an National Health Service prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement between November 2017 and November 2018.

Month

Licensed cannabis-based medicines

Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines

Nabilone

Sativex

November 2017

44

174

0

December 2017

58

202

0

January 2018

54

171

0

February 2018

44

158

0

March 2018

47

182

0

April 2018

48

145

0

May 2018

45

183

0

June 2018

42

157

0

July 2018

48

170

2

August 2018

54

161

0

September 2018

45

172

1

October 2018

50

164

0

November 2018

46

175

2

Total

625

2,214

5

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

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