Cork campaigner 'hopeful' on direct funding for medicinal cannabis

Cork campaigner 'hopeful' on direct funding for medicinal cannabis

Vera Twomey’s daughter, Ava suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome and utilises medicinal cannabis. Picture: Denis Minihane.

CORK campaigner Vera Twomey is "cautiously hopeful" that progress is being made with regards to the HSE directly funding Bedrocan medicine at source.

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. 

The system is difficult for many however as families have to pay out many thousands of euros in advance every three months and then wait weeks for the HSE to refund it.

Ms Twomey said she is hopeful an adjustment will be made to the funding. 

“We are still waiting for them to return to us about funding the Bedrocan medication upfront. I’m very hopeful that will happen for us. 

"I have put in a lot of effort trying to get the Bedrocan funding upfront. It has been a tough fight but hopefully, we will get there,” she said.

The Cork campaigner said she has received positive contact from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s office. 

“I have got positive contact from Stephen Donnelly’s office about Bedrocan. I am cautiously hopeful that there will be a solution found.

“We are asking for the HSE to fund the medication upfront and pay the pharmacy directly in the Netherlands and do the same for all the other Bedrocan patients. It would be a huge relief if this situation happens,” she added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told The Echo: “Department officials are in ongoing discussions with the HSE.”

PROGRAMME OPENS

Earlier this week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, announced that the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) is now open for medical consultants to make an application for themselves and their patients to be registered for the programme.

Mr Donnelly said: "[This] is a significant step forward in the ongoing delivery of the MCAP. This step forward will greatly assist patients who, under the supervision of their consultant, need to avail of medicinal cannabis products to alleviate the effects of their severe medical conditions. I now hope the programme continues to go on and grow and expand further, to best meet the needs of patients and families around Ireland.”

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