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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 147 – questions to health [Medicinal cannabis] [18441/18].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 147 – questions to health [Medicinal cannabis] [18441/18]. (26 Apr 2018)


147. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health the status of the medicinal cannabis compassionate access programme; when the programme will commence; the categories of patients who will have access to it; the forms of medicinal cannabis that will be potentially available; and the process by which persons will be able to access it. [18441/18]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The Health Products Regulatory Authority’s (HPRA) report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’ recommended that if access to cannabis is to be permitted for medical purposes, that it's use should only be initiated as part of a structured process of formal on-going clinical evaluation, in a limited number of clearly defined 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 report noted that all such patients should be under the direct supervision of an appropriately trained and experienced medical consultant. The specified medical conditions (medical indications) are:

- Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis;

- Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy;          

- Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

On foot of this report, I undertook to establish an Access Programme to facilitate access to cannabis-based treatments in certain circumstances, in line with the HPRA’s recommendations.

I established an Expert Reference Group to advise on the development of a Cannabis Access Programme. The Expert Reference Group has developed clinical and practice guidelines for the cannabis access programme. These have been finalised and will be published shortly.

The HSE has been requested to establish and maintain a Register to facilitate the programme and work is continuing in relation to the sourcing of suitable quality-controlled, affordable cannabis-based products for Irish patients.

Drafting of secondary legislation to underpin the access programme continues and will be finalised once appropriate cannabis product supplies have been established.

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