A new, key piece of legislation was just signed into law by health minister Simon Harris. With the stroke of a pen, health minister Harris legalized a program to provide access to patients who qualify for treatment with medical cannabis products.
Only patients who have had no success with standard pharmaceutical medications will receive access to medical cannabis. Health conditions such as spasticity from multiple sclerosis, severe refractory epilepsy, intractable nausea, vomiting, and side-effects associated from treatment of cancers through chemotherapy are eligible for a medical cannabis prescription from a medical consultant. The cost associated with cannabis-based treatment medications is said by Harris to be the same as any prescription drug from a pharmacy.
“Ultimately it will be the decision of the medical consultant, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe a particular treatment, including a cannabis-based treatment, for a patient under their care. You will be assessed on the same basis – if you get the drug payment scheme you will be covered in that, if you have the medical card, you’ll be covered under the prescription charges, if you are on long-term illness, you will be covered under that”, said Harris.
Medical cannabis supply is now in the hands of licensed providers to assist the government and ensure that the demand by patients can be sufficiently met. Suppliers who are interested to become a part of the medical cannabis supply chain in Ireland can do so with an application to the Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA). Harris did previously go on record that he has an open mind on the ability for Ireland’s State or public health service to facilitate and cultivate its own medicinal cannabis.
A source within the government reported that the believed number of expected patients who will register to receive medical cannabis treatment is somewhere in the thousands.
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