Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (826, 827)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

826. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his plans to update the medicinal cannabis access programme to make it easier for pharmacies to import medicinal cannabis for medicinal cannabis prescription holders in order that they can access their prescribed medicine here. [19217/19]

View answer

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

827. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his plans to update the medicinal cannabis access programme to allow for pharmacies to import medicinal cannabis produced by a company (details supplied) for prescription holders in order that they can access their prescribed medicine here. [19218/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 826 and 827 together.

Under existing legislation it is open to Irish registered pharmacists to apply for a Ministerial licence to import, possess and supply cannabis-based products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for a named patient who has been prescribed such products for medical purposes by an Irish registered medical practitioner who has been authorised to do so by Ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The main elements of an application submitted under the Misuse of Drugs legislation for a licence for THC-based cannabis for medicinal use must include:

- Evidence that the cannabis product has been prescribed by an Irish registered medical practitioner who has been authorised to do so by Ministerial licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

- Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland registration details for the licence applicant, including professional registration number and pharmacy premises registration details.

- Details of the cannabis product which it is proposed to import and supply to the patient.

- Details of the named patient to whom the cannabis product is to be supplied. Please include details of the patients representative/guardian, where applicable.

- The source of the cannabis product.

- Details of the distributor of the cannabis product.

However, those patients who have been prescribed a Bedrocan cannabis-based oil product must travel to The Hague to obtain them because under Netherlands government policy, Bedrocan cannabis oil products are not permitted to be commercially exported from the Netherlands.

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme is not yet operational. In the meantime it remains open to a medical practitioner wishing to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes for an individual patient under their care, to apply to the Minister for Health for a licence, under Section 14 of The Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2016 and the Regulations made thereunder.