Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (927)

David Cullinane


927. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health the status of the work underway to review and revise difficulties with the medicinal cannabis access programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8800/21]

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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 National Service Plan 2021.

The HSE will be responsible for the operation of the programme. The HSE will establish and maintain a Register to facilitate the enrolment and recording of certain data including patient identifiers (in anonymised format), prescribers enrolled in the Programme, as well as prescribed / supplied medical cannabis products.