Assent for medicinal cannabis products

TWO suppliers of cannabis-based products are likely to be reclassified to allow their prescription in Jersey, while Sativex – a cannabis-based painkiller – will be available free of charge from next week when prescribed by a hospital specialist, the Health Minister has said.

Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine for multiple sclerosis sufferers, will be available on prescription from next week
Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine for multiple sclerosis sufferers, will be available on prescription from next week

Health Minister Andrew Green confirmed last year that following advice from the Jersey Misuse of Drugs Advisory Council he was looking into legalising certain medicinal cannabis products and added that he could lodge proposals to legalise certain medicines before the end of 2017.

During States questions, Senator Green confirmed that his department had been in discussion with two potential suppliers – the Holland-based Bedrocan and Canadian company Tilray – and that it was ‘probable that one or both product ranges will be reclassified’ to enable them to be available from the hospital pharmacy on prescription.

The minister said that any products would need to meet Good Manufacturing Practice standards and that the logistics of importing cannabis-based medicines to Jersey were still being resolved but that they were ‘nearly there’ in ironing out those issues. He did not give a timeline as to when the products might be available.

Responding to a question from Deputy Montfort Tadier, Senator Green added: ‘A key recommendation of the Misuse of Drugs Advisory Council was that if cannabis-based products were to be used for medicinal purposes they should be quality assured. They must be produced to GMP standards and they must meet those standards consistently.’

The minister added that any cannabis products would be available via hospital prescription and would be free of charge. This included Sativex, which can start being prescribed by a hospital specialist from next week.

In an additional written question, Senator Green said: ‘Initially the most likely product ranges to be reclassified are the Bedrocan range produced in Holland and Tilray oral solutions produced by the Canadian company Tilray. However, it is possible that other GMP-produced products will be reclassified as they become available and any issue around the logistics of importing them into Jersey are resolved.’

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