Monday 19 August 2019

Access to medical cannabis products eased

Controlled drugs: Simon Harris signed legislation yesterday that will make it easier for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to their patients. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Controlled drugs: Simon Harris signed legislation yesterday that will make it easier for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to their patients. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Patients deemed suitable for medical cannabis treatment will have easier access by the autumn, the Health Minister has said.

Simon Harris was speaking after he signed legislation allowing companies making medicinal cannabis products to supply the Irish market.

The scheme allows people with certain conditions to be prescribed medicinal cannabis products by their consultant after they have exhausted all other treatments.

It is being piloted over five years.

The minister said: "Once suitable medical cannabis products are made available by suppliers, the access programme will make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a listed cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments."

These illnesses include:

:: Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis;

:: Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy;

:: Severe, refractory treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Mr Harris added: "Ultimately it will be the decision of the medical consultant, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe a particular treatment, including a cannabis-based treatment, for a patient under their care."

A prospective supplier can apply to the Health Products Regulatory Authority, on behalf of the minister, to have a product considered for inclusion in the schedule of "specified controlled drugs" under this new piece of legislation.

People with chronic pain are excluded from eligibility.

Irish Independent

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