Vera Twomey writes open letter to Taoiseach and Health Minister on medicine reimbursement payments

Vera Twomey writes open letter to Taoiseach and Health Minister on medicine reimbursement payments

In the letter addressed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, campaigner and member of the Irish Medicinal Cannabis Council, Vera Twomey said that those who need medicinal cannabis in Ireland “are entitled to clarity and fair treatment”.

CORK campaigner Vera Twomey has called for “clarity and fair treatment” for those who need medicinal cannabis in an open letter addressed to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health.

In the letter addressed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, campaigner and member of the Irish Medicinal Cannabis Council, Vera Twomey said that those who need medicinal cannabis in Ireland “are entitled to clarity and fair treatment”.

Ms Twomey’s daughter, Ava suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome and utilises medicinal cannabis.

“Ava is one of a fortunate few whose cost of medicine is reimbursed but by a cumbersome and difficult system where families have to pay out many thousands of euros in advance – up to €10,000 every three months- and then wait, sometimes many weeks, to have the HSE refund it,” wrote Ms Twomey.

She called for the cost of medicine to be met at source for all, as available for those who qualify for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP).

“Under the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) the cost of medicine will be met at source but many patients receiving cannabis under a ministerial license, are not reimbursed at all.

“They all have long-term illnesses and they too should be properly looked after by the government,” she added.

Speaking to The Echo, Ms Twomey said that she is looking for an adjustment to be made to the funding.

“The way the situation stands, you’re going to have a position in the future where other patients who would have the very same diagnosis as probably our daughter would have or very similar and they will be prescribed medicinal cannabis under the Cannabis Access Programme and their medication will be funded at source, but other existing patients who have been granted licenses for the medical cannabis will not.

“I think it’s very, very unfair to have a situation whereby existing patients will have to continue to have this large sum of money available to pay for their medication upfront and [wait] for reimbursement.” 

She has asked the Minister to meet with her and representatives of the Irish Medicinal Cannabis Council on the matter.

“We are not an individual case by any means. This situation is affecting multitudes of people across the country in almost every county in the country and it is something that needs to be addressed quickly,” she added.

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