PBP TD calls for urgent progress on the commencement of the Cannabis Access Programme

Highlights the lack of reimbursement for those who have been granted a ministerial licence for the prescription of medicinal cannabis

Dublin Mid-West People Before Profit TD,  Gino Kenny, raised the issue of the lack of progress on the establishment of the Cannabis Access Programme which was a key recommendation of the HPRA’s report on Cannabis for Medical Use Scientific Review. The programme has been flagged to begin for the past two and a half years.

Deputy Kenny referred to a family in Waterford in the Dáil today who were granted a licence for medicinal cannabis for their daughter in December 2018 and who received notification from the HSE yesterday that they would not be reimbursed for the cost of the medication.

The cost for this family is prohibitive and they have stated that when their daughter’s prescription runs out at the end of August, they will be unable to afford to continue her treatment. Deputy Kenny stated that there is a discriminatory policy at play in the criteria to qualify for reimbursement.

“I am calling for the immediate commencement of the Cannabis Access Programme, and also a thorough review of the reimbursement process for families who are currently finding the cost of their medication prohibitive.

“The current system of the ministerial licence where a patient has to travel to another jurisdiction to collect the prescription is completely antiquated and unworkable, and it needs to be sorted out immediately. The process is causing unnecessary distress and hardship to families who are already struggling as a result of the impact of long-term illness.”