The UK Government today has announced that it is changing importation restrictions regarding medicinal cannabis, to minimize the waiting time for fulfillment of prescriptions. The change allows licensed wholesalers to (1) import larger quantities of cannabis-based products; and (2) hold supplies for future use by patients with prescriptions. Although there is little detail as to its implementation currently, patients and other stakeholders will no doubt welcome the change, as the UK Government looks to tackle the waiting time for cannabis-based medicines. It is understood that waiting times can be quite significant for patients (i.e - months) from prescription to fulfillment, whereas this change hopefully reduces wait times to days. The new changes are to take effect from today (2 March 2020) and will be implemented by the Home Office and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: Every time I meet the families of young people dealing so bravely with childhood epilepsy, I am reminded of just how much they have been through. The changes made today are a tremendous step towards improving the supply of cannabis-based medicinal products by helping to ensure quicker and more reliable access for patients. But we still have a long way to go. We need more research into the quality and safety of these medicines, and to do all we can to cut down the costs and remove barriers so that, when appropriate, patients can access it, including on the NHS.