Skip to main content

Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 257476, tabled on 22 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the cost-effectiveness of patients receiving an NHS prescription for wholeplant medical cannabis.

Answered on

10 June 2019

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

The Department for International Trade and the Department of Health and Social Care are not specifically collecting data on the growth of the market for cannabis based products for medicinal use in the United Kingdom.

However, data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) shows growing numbers of import notifications for medicinal cannabis and the Home Office has received increased numbers of licence applications.

In addition, UK companies exporting these products and foreign companies looking to invest in the UK have full access to government support, where they have the necessary authorisations from the MHRA and Home Office and a relevant Export Licence.

Original answer

An initial impact assessment was published alongside The Misuse of Drugs (Amendments) (Cannabis and Licence Fees) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2018. This can be viewed at the following link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1055/impacts

This set out the approach that the Government proposed to take in assessing the costs and benefits of the change in the law at a population level, with regard to the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM). This framework included potential savings in treatment costs, giving the example of patients with severe epilepsy for whom medicinal use of cannabis could reduce the frequency of seizures and reduce the number of related hospital admissions. This was an initial framework for assessing this policy and as we develop our knowledge in this area, both on the costs and the potential benefits, we can revisit and refine these assessments.

In the meantime, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing clinical guidelines on the appropriate use of CBPM based on the best available evidence, and the National Institute for Health Research is funding further clinical research on this. More information is available at the following link:

https://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/documents/themed-calls/cannabis-based%20products/cannabis-based-products-brief.pdf