Skip Page Header

Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 950 - Medicinal products licensing [19808/17] [Cannabis].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 950 - Medicinal products licensing [19808/17] [Cannabis]. (02 May 2017)

950. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the action he proposes to take to ensure that cannabis for medicinal use is available via prescription to persons suffering from chronic pain in which there is significant medical evidence of the positive effects of such intervention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19808/17]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): On 10 February I published the HPRA’s Report ‘Cannabis for Medicinal Use – A Scientific Review’, and announced the establishment of an access programme for cannabis-based treatments, to be provided for patients under the care of a medical consultant, for the following conditions:


- spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis resistant to all standard therapies and interventions;


- intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, despite the use of standard anti-emetic regimes; and


- severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard anticonvulsant medications.


The HPRA Report did not recommend the inclusion of chronic pain in the access programme.


Notwithstanding this, and as I have outlined previously, there is no legal impediment preventing an Irish registered consultant from prescribing cannabis products containing THC for a patient with chronic pain, or other serious medical conditions, where the proposed course of treatment has been endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of that patient and is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time. In such circumstances the prescriber would need to apply to my Department for a licence under the Misuse of Drugs Acts.


Ultimately the decision on the appropriate course of treatment for any patient is a matter for the clinician treating the patient and a Minister for Health has no role in the clinical decision making process.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Cannabis, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Policy
2 May 2017
Related URLs

Repository Staff Only: item control page