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NHS cannabis prescriptions challenged for the first time

The parents of Charlie Hughes have mounted the first legal challenge to cannabis prescription legislation in the UK. Charlie Hughes is a three-year-old with a rare form of treatment-resistant epilepsy…
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The parents of Charlie Hughes have mounted the first legal challenge to cannabis prescription legislation in the UK.

Charlie Hughes is a three-year-old with a rare form of treatment-resistant epilepsy called West syndrome. This has left him with a developmental delay.

Cannabis oil shows positive effects

In the past, Charlie was given six different anti-epileptic drugs but saw no improvement in his condition.

However, after receiving CBD oil privately his seizures reduced from 120 to fewer than 20.

Since 2018, medical cannabis has been legal under the NHS but almost no prescriptions have been given out. If the family wins it could make current guidelines set out by NICE unlawful.

At the moment, Charlie’s family are paying between £1,000 and £3,000 a month just for the oil to ease their son’s seizures. Their solicitors argue that NICE did not have adequate consultation when they first created their guidelines.

What does NICE say?

Officially, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) said they would not comment on an “ongoing legal matter.”

However, they do contend that the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines is weak and limited. This is arguably true but only due to the heavy limitations placed on researchers in the field of cannabis research. Because of this, there have been few large-scale trials.

Caroline Barrett, the Hughes family solicitor, said that while NICE has left the option open for cannabis and CBD legislation the guidelines are so cautious that “children aren’t getting medical cannabis.”

Charlie’s father added, “This is an important step in our ongoing fight for our son Charlie to receive the medicine he needs on the NHS.

“NICE will now have to explain and justify in the High Court the guideline which prevents Charlie, and others like him, from being prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products which help to control his rare form of epilepsy.”

Source: https://www.theextract.co.uk/news/latest-news/nhs-cannabis-prescriptions-challenged-first-time/

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