CORK mum Vera Twomey has received a phone call from the Taoiseach about her campaign to have the medical cannabis prescribed to her daughter included on the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme.
Vera’s daughter Ava Barry, who is 11 years and has Dravet’s Syndrome, is prescribed Bedrocan, a brand of medicinal cannabis. Dravet’s Syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy.
In January, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced provision for the delivery and funding of the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme which enables compassionate access to cannabis for medicinal reasons.
Legislation underpinning the programme was enacted in June 2019. However, Bedrocan is not on the list of medications in the programme.
Ms Twomey says that at present, Ava’s family has to pay €9,500 upfront for three months worth of Bedrocan, which is then reimbursed five weeks later.
But she said that if Bedrocan was included in the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme, the medication would be funded at source.
She welcomed the call from the Taoiseach, but said no promises were made to her about the scheme. She said she is tired of having to keep fighting every step of the way in relation to her daughter’s medication.
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach confirmed that Mr Martin had called Ms Twomey.
He said: “The Taoiseach made a call to Vera Twomey recently. He has maintained regular contact with her over a number of years.” He said the call was in relation to “the compassionate access programme on medicinal grounds.”
Last month, Ms Twomey wrote an open letter to the Taoiseach and Health Minister, for “clarity and fair treatment” for those who need medicinal cannabis.