Following the Brexit transition period on December 31 – when the United Kingdom will no longer be a part of the European Union – cannabis patients in England will be cut off from their cannabis supply in The Netherlands, the Independent reports.
In a December 15 letter from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the agency advised importers to work with clinics, pharmacies, and prescribers to offer potential alternatives to medical cannabis patients because “dispensing finished cannabis oil (Bedrocan products) in The Netherlands against prescriptions from UK prescribers is no longer an option from 1 January 2021.”
According to the report, there are about 40 severely epileptic children in Britain that are prescribed medical cannabis and obtain it from the EU.
A spokesperson for UK-based medical cannabis advocacy organization End Our Pain called the termination of the medical cannabis supply from The Netherlands “a matter of life and death for these children.” The spokesperson added that it is “imperative that the government act now to help reach a solution and help these families.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told the Independent that the agency sympathizes with patients, and said that “there is a range of alternative cannabis-based medicines available to UK patients.”
The UK has approved two cannabis-based medications for use on the National Health Service; however, according to End Our Pain, officials have issued just three prescriptions for the medication since the 2018 reforms. The medication sourced from The Netherlands costs about £2,000 a month, forcing some families to rely on charity to access the medicine.