By Emily Ledger
At the end of last week, Sapphire Medical Clinic became the first medical Cannabis clinic in the UK to be registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the body which inspects and regulates health and social care services in England.
Despite not being the first medical Cannabis clinic in the country, it is the first to be registered by the CQC. The clinic will now be able to write medical Cannabis prescriptions for patients with a number of qualifying conditions.
There are few Cannabis medicines currently licensed in the UK. licensed medicines that are technically available on prescription are licensed for specific conditions, such as MS, Epilepsy, or chemotherapy patients. However, clinicians at Sapphire Medical Clinic in Marylebone, London, will now be able to consider patients with additional conditions.
There is thought to be a waiting list of over 50 for an appointment at the clinic. Following an initial consultation, at a cost of £250, (and follow-up visits costing £150), patients may be referred to specialist clinicians for a medical Cannabis prescription for arthritis, MS, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and stroke-related conditions, among others.
Managing Director of Sapphire Medical Clinics, Dr. Mikael Sodergren, said:
‘Today’s decision is a landmark moment in the supply of medical cannabis in the UK. We can now be the lifeline for GPs who are not permitted to prescribe themselves but who think their patients could benefit from medical cannabis.”
Once patients have received a prescription from the clinic, they can take it to any pharmacy around the country.
However, waiting times for the delivery of medical Cannabis could be significantly longer than for other medications. This is due to the currently lacking framework for the delivery of Cannabis products in the UK.
Medical Cannabis was legalised in the UK in November 2018. However, few medical Cannabis prescriptions have been completed since. It has been stated that some families have been forced to pay up to £2,000 per month for their medicine, despite the change in the law.
In August, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released its draft guidelines for the use of medical Cannabis products on the NHS. Despite the rescheduling of CBMPs, NICE concluded that it could not recommend the use of medical Cannabis for the majority of conditions, due to a lack of evidence cost.
The official guidelines are due to be published later in the year.