Doctors on the Island have been told not to prescribe a pain relieving drug derived from cannabis.
Instead of doctors prescribing the drug, patients will have to be referred to one senior consultant at St Mary’s who will decide whether the treatment is appropriate or not.
Despite being licensed for use by the NHS, a committee of local experts has advised health bosses across the South Central region that GPs shouldn’t be prescribing the drug Sativex.
Sativex is the world’s first prescription cannabis medicine and the UK is the first country in the world to grant a full regulatory authorization for the product. Sativex contains two cannabinoids or active ingredients – THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). It is the first cannabinoid medicine derived from whole plant extracts from the cannabis sativa plant.
NHS Isle of Wight have told the Chronicle that patients who are found to have benefited from taking the Sativex drug will continue to get it.
In a statment, the Isle of Wight NHS said: “On the advice of a formulary committee of local experts, the Isle of Wight PCT were advised that all prescribing of Sativex should be by a senior consultant based at the local hospital and that GP prescribing had already been considered inappropriate. That senior clinician has already undertaken audits and further assessments to ensure the appropriateness of prescribing. Those patients who have found benefit from taking Sativex will continue to receive it.”
Sativex is manufactured by GW under Home Office licence at an undisclosed location in the UK. The medicine is being marketed in the UK by GW’s UK licensee, Bayer Schering Pharma. Dr Geoffrey Guy, GW’s Chairman, said:
“The approval and launch of Sativex in the UK is the world’s first full approval of a cannabis-derived prescription medicine and the product of eleven year’s research by GW into the cannabinoid system. GW was founded with the primary goal of developing a medicine to address the unmet needs of people with MS “
Under the terms of the agreement with Bayer, GW will receive a £10m milestone payment in respect of the UK approval of Sativex. Outside the UK, the drug is expected to be approved in Spain shortly. Further submissions will be made in additional European countries during the second half of 2010 under the mutual recognition procedure. Almirall S.A. will market Sativex in Europe (ex-UK).