Jeremy welcomes creation of expert panel for prescription of medicinal cannabis

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy has welcomed the creation of an expert panel to advise Ministers on applications to prescribe cannabis related medicinal products.

The panel is now accepting applications and will be chaired by the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride. It is essential that, in cases where a clinician is clear that use of cannabis and cannabis-related products should be part of a patient’s treatment plan, and exceptional use is justified, clinicians are able to make an application for the medicines they need. It is important therefore begin to raise awareness of the role of the expert panel so that, together, we can begin to provide patients with the access to the medicines they need.

In advising Ministers on applications to prescribe cannabis-related products, the panel will assess the merits of each application. In doing so, they will consider whether any of the following criteria are satisfied:

  • Whether the patient has previously used, and benefited from, the products the clinician intends to prescribe; or,
  • Whether there is a clinical trial that indicates that use of the products the clinician intends to prescribe may lead to an improvement in the patient’s condition; or,
  • Whether there is an otherwise unmet special clinical need that justifies the use of the products the clinician intends to prescribe to the patient.

The panel will be assessing whether the attending clinician, who has the responsibility for the case, is making a logical and reasonable request for a specific case. The panel cannot make clinical decisions for a patient not under their care.

Additionally the Home Secretary has announced a two part review into legalising and regulating the use of medicinal cannabis. Part one of the review will be carried out by Professor Dame Sally Davies and will consider the evidence available for the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabis-like products. Part two, led by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, will provide an assessment, based on the balance of harms and public health needs, of what, if anything should be rescheduled. Rescheduling will mean that clinicians will be able to prescribe cannabis and cannabis-like products in the same way that they are able to prescribe other products, such as Morphine.

Commenting, Jeremy said:

“The creation of this expert panel will be a welcome support for the many patients who benefit from the targeted pain relief provided by medicinal cannabis. I also look forward to the results of the review.”