Upfront funding of medicinal cannabis welcomed by Cork's Vera Twomey

Upfront funding of medicinal cannabis welcomed by Cork's Vera Twomey

Vera Twomey at a book signing for her book, for Ava, which took place in 2019.

CORK mother Vera Twomey has thanked everyone who has helped in securing upfront funding for a brand of medicinal cannabis sourced in Holland for her daughter.

The Government has announced that Bedrocan is to be included in the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme, paving the way for funding at source, which will affect 17 families.

Vera’s daughter, Ava Barry, who is 11 and has Dravet’s Syndrome, is prescribed Bedrocan, a brand of medicinal cannabis. Dravet’s Syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy.

In January, Stephen Donnelly, the health minister, 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 was not on the list of medications in the programme. Now, it has been included on the list. In a tweet, following the announcement, Vera Twomey said: “Thank you so much to everyone who supported us.”

Prior to the announcement, Ava’s family had to pay €9,500 upfront for three months worth of Bedrocan, which was reimbursed five weeks later. Now, the medication will be funded at source.

She told the 96FM Opinion Line that she received a call on Monday from Mr Donnelly to inform her of the development.

While speaking of her relief, she said: “It was a constant worry for us.”

And she said that since her daughter has had access to Bedrocan, “she has been given a life”.

In April, Ms Twomey wrote an open letter to the Taoiseach and to the health minister, for “clarity and fair treatment” for those who need medicinal cannabis. She said that those who need medicinal cannabis in Ireland “are entitled to clarity and fair treatment”.

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