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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation [Medicinal cannabis].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Questions on Promised Legislation [Medicinal cannabis]. (04 Nov 2020)

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… Deputy Jackie Cahill: Epidiolex is a cannabis-based medication that can be used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy. It is available to children over the age of two and eligible adults. I have been contacted by the parents of a 14-year-old girl who has an aggressive form of cancer. She has been suffering from seizures and she drops suddenly to the ground when they take hold. She has an average of approximately five seizures per day and the parents have been told this is a long-term illness. She has been prescribed Epidiolex by her consultant and it is approved by the European Medicines Agency. The consultant has stated the prescription of this drug is straightforward and it can be supplied by a European supplier.

The cost is prohibitive, unfortunately. It costs €1,200 for a single bottle which lasts three to six weeks. In an answer to a parliamentary question, the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, has informed me that the HSE has received two applications for the reimbursement of the cost of this much-needed medication. If this was processed under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, parents could then access this medication and potentially transform the life of this young girl. She is very sick and she needs urgent help. I ask that the bureaucracy be stripped away and this application be processed to allow this drug to be reimbursed by the HSE.

Micheál Martin The Taoiseach: I thank the Deputy for raising this issue on behalf of that young girl. I will certainly do what I can on this matter. I will engage with the HSE and the Minister for Health. I know the Deputy has sent the details to the Minister for Health, so I will pursue this issue with him. This concerns the procurement of medicinal cannabis and the associated cost, and I will pursue this issue.

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