CORK campaigner Vera Twomey has called on the Taoiseach to ensure that the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme includes the medicinal cannabis that is currently prescribed to her daughter.
In January, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD announced provision for the delivery and funding of the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme which enables compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons.
Legislation underpinning the programme was enacted in June 2019.
The Access Programme aims to make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a listed cannabis-based treatment for a patient though the treatment will only be available to patients with specific medical conditions where standard treatments have failed to work.
Vera Twomey, whose daughter Ava suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome welcomed the announcement, however she said it does not cater for those currently prescribed Bedrocan medication.
“Because the Bedrocan medication is not included in the Compassionate Access Programme, it means that families like ours are going to have to continue to find significant sums of money to pay upfront for their children’s medication.” Currently, Ms Twomey is paying €9,500 every three months for 11-year-old Ava’s medication.
Ms Twomey has called on the on the Minister for Health to fund the Bedrocan medication “in the same way that the plans to allow patients prescribed medication under the Compassionate Access Programme to be funded at source”.
She said that the cost of the medication depends on the weight of the patient and as Ava grows, the cost of the medication may increase.
“The cost is going to continue to go up and the cost of it is crippling us at the moment and I am frightened about what’s going to happen a couple of years down the line when we need to have an even larger sum of money available tied up all the time to secure my daughter’s future.” Ms Twomey said that she is now also calling on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to intervene.
“We’re appealing to Micheál Martin to intervene to help Ava in this final obstacle,” she added.