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Home > Dail Eireann debates. Written answers 398 & 399- Cannabis for medicinal use [4152/18, 4153/18].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debates. Written answers 398 & 399- Cannabis for medicinal use [4152/18, 4153/18]. (30 Jan 2018)

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298 Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of persons who have availed of the licence to use medicinal cannabis since the scheme was established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4152/18]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As the Deputy is aware, under existing legislation, medical practitioners who wish to prescribe cannabis for medical use may apply for a licence to do so. The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the granting of such a licence must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

 

To date four licences in respect of four individual patients have been granted.

 

299. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the status of the compassionate access programme for access to medicinal cannabis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4153/18]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In March, following the publication of the Health Products Regulatory Authority’s report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’, I established an Expert Reference Group to advise on the development of a Cannabis for Medical Use Access Programme, for patients with certain medical conditions which have failed to respond to all standard treatments.

 

The Expert Group has drawn up clinical guidance for healthcare professionals treating patients through the Access Programme. Officials in the Department of Health are working on legislation to underpin the Access Programme.

 

The work is well advanced but will take some further time to complete.

 

In the meantime, and for medical conditions not included in the Access Programme, medical practitioners who wish to prescribe cannabis-based products containing THC may apply under the Misuse of Drugs Act for a licence to do so. The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the granting of such a licence must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.

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