NHS England and NHS Improvement is using extant systems to monitor the use of 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 prescribed and submitted to it. 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, Sativex and Epidyolex (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 between January and October 2019 (October 2019 is the most recent dispensing data held by the NHS Business Services Authority).
Licensed Cannabis-based medicines
Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines
*Epidyolex was unlicensed prior to September 2019; no NHS prescriptions for Epidyolex have been submitted at the time this data was produced. In addition to the above, approximately 185 patients have accessed Epidyolex through the manufacturer’s (GW Pharma) early access programmes, ahead of a licensing decision by the European Medicines Agency.