CHILDREN with severe epilepsy will have access to a cannabis-based treatment on the NHS within two weeks.
Cannabidiol oral solution Epidyolex has been fast-tracked to be available from January 6.
It was recently recommended for use with two types of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. Children aged two and over, plus adults, will be able to use Epidyolex in combination with clobazam.
Around 2,000 people could benefit. Trials have shown the treatment could reduce seizures by up to 40 per cent. Campaigners End Our Pain hailed the move as a step in the right direction.
But they said it was a “missed opportunity” for people needing medications containing both CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Some families are paying £2,000 a month privately for such products.
Millie Hinton, of End Our Pain, said: “They have been pushed to breaking point funding the only medicine that gives their children significant seizure control and the quality of life they deserve."
“Some have felt forced to sell homes. It is unbelievably cruel to leave these vulnerable families in such a desperate state. All they want is for the Government to honour promises made to them.”
A change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
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But many have been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of guidance on prescribing, as well as issues over funding.
This has led some families to go abroad, with some bringing medicines into the UK illegally.
The National Medical Director and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England will write to doctors and pharmacists soon to clarify the issue.