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100 MPs urge Government to fund medical cannabis prescriptions



Children with severe epilepsy
Dozens of children have to rely on private medical cannabis prescriptions
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In a joint letter, 100 cross-party politicians have called on the Prime Minister to provide urgent funding for families’ private prescriptions.

Since medical cannabis was legalised in 2018, it is thought that only three children in the UK have been granted NHS prescriptions.

Dozens of families of children with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy are still forced to pay up to £2,000 a month for their children’s life saving medication. 

The letter, which has been signed by 100 MPs and Peers, calls for the Government to grant “compassionate funding” to help these families, until there is wider access on the NHS.

Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Access to Medical Cannabis Under Prescription who authored the letter, said families were “emotionally and financially broken”.

The coronavirus crisis has restricted fundraising efforts leaving families carrying a “severe financial burden” and at risk of running out of medication “within weeks”.

Antoniazzi appealed to Boris Johnson to “grant access to some form of compassionate funding until the wider issues can be resolved”, the BBC reported on Friday 16 April.

A 2019 review carried out by the Department of Health into the blocks in issuing NHS prescriptions, called for an observational trial in which these children would have access to medical cannabis at no cost. 

But writing in The Times last week Antoniazzi said the APPG was informed that plans for the trial had been “effectively dropped”. 

The campaign group End Our Pain has called for the funding as a “short-term solution” to relieve some of the burden on these families. 

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health.Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained.She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa.Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag