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UK government to permit electronic prescribing of cannabis medicines

The Home Office has backed ACMD advice to allow cannabis-based medicines to be prescribed electronically. 

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The change will allow for 'more efficient' and 'safer' prescribing.

The UK Home Office has backed proposals to allow cannabis-based medicines to be prescribed electronically. 

The Minister for Crime and Policing, Chris Philp MP, has accepted advice from the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on NHS England’s proposals to allow the e-prescribing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) and other schedule 2 and 3 drugs.

The ACMD previously recommended that the Home Office amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 to allow electronic prescribing of these products within secondary care.

In a response published on 29 September, the Minister said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will now consider next steps and whether amending the Misuse of Drugs Regulations is the most appropriate legislative mechanism.

Safer and more efficient prescribing

The move is expected to make a ‘significant difference’ to the current process for prescribing cannabis-based medicines. 

It will mean that prescriptions are no longer required to be posted to the relevant pharmacy, speeding up the time it takes for patients to receive their medication and allowing for more secure and efficient record-keeping. 

Professor Mike Barnes, founder of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, told Cannabis Health it was a sign of ‘common sense at last’.

This will make a significant difference to prescribing,” he said. 

“It will speed up the process and generally be a more efficient and safer method of prescribing rather than the antiquated need to post prescriptions to the pharmacy.”

READ MORE: How to access a medical cannabis prescription in the UK

The Cannabis Industry Council has also welcomed the news.

Dr Sunil Arora, co-chair of the CIC Prescription Cannabis Working Group, commented: “The Cannabis Industry Council is pleased to hear the Government will be making this sensible reform. This moves clinics into the digital age, and will enable more secure and efficient record-keeping, as well as speeding up patient access to their medication.”

NHS England and the DHSC have confirmed that they will conduct an evaluation of the impact of the proposed changes once they have been implemented.

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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 title 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 sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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