Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (717)

Paul Kehoe


717. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health if there are plans to extend the qualifying illnesses from the three current conditions for others who suffer chronic pain and wish to be prescribed under the programme further to the commencement of the medical cannabis access programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6406/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) report “Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review”, the HPRA advised that if access to cannabis is to be permitted for medical purposes that it should only be made available for the treatment of patients with specified medical conditions which have failed to respond to all other previous treatments, and where there is at least modest evidence that cannabis may be effective.

The specified medical conditions (medical indications) are:

1. Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis resistant to all standard therapies and interventions whilst under expert medical supervision;

2. Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, despite the use of standard anti-emetic regimes whilst under expert medical supervision;

3. Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard anticonvulsant medications whilst under expert medical supervision.

The HPRA did not consider that the available evidence supported the use of cannabis in other medical conditions.

The MCAP has been included in the HSE Service Plan 2021 and is a five year pilot programme for the treatment of the three specified conditions.