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The first patient to obtain NHS flower reimbursement

The first patient to obtain NHS flower reimbursement

Michael Roberts (MR) is reportedly the first NHS patient to be reimbursed for cannabis flower medicine to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).

A case study about MR’s condition and subsequent reimbursement has been written by Roberts M, Brown M D, Moreno-Sanz G, and published by Cureus (part of Springer Nature).

The following are extracts from their case study:

“In July 2022, MR requested his general practitioner to submit an individual funding request (IFR) to the NHS South, Central, and West Commissioning and Support Unit to cover the cost associated with his medicinal cannabis flowers. This amounted to £388 per month for the 24 months his oncologist had estimated his prognosis to be. In October 2022, the panel denied his petition considering by mistake that MR was requesting funding for the use of Sativex. Sativex is a CBMP authorized for the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and the funding panel argued that Sativex was not approved for the indication of CINV. In November 2022, the IFR was resubmitted, clarifying that the application was for medicinal cannabis flowers, an unlicensed CBMP. The panel then denied this second request because MR had not exhausted other authorized options like nabilone.

“In March 2023, after trialing nabilone and finding it of minimal efficacy, MR’s general practitioner resubmitted the IFR, emphasizing that the use of cannabis flowers together with prescription antiemetics allowed the patient to complete his course of FOLFOX chemotherapy. This was further corroborated by MR’s oncologist in a letter to The Shirley Health Partnership supporting MR’s IFR. On April 20th, 2023, the funding panel met and agreed to fund MR’s request. The panel also agreed to fund the cost of a certified medical device, an herbal vaporizer, for the administration of medicinal cannabis flowers in compliance with current UK legislation set forth by the Home Office in 2018, which prohibits smoking of CBMP.

“To the best of our knowledge, MR was able to become the first patient to be granted funding to cover the cost of cannabis flowers likely due to two key aspects of his case: (i) CINV is, together with multiple sclerosis and certain pediatric epileptic syndromes, an indication approved for the prescription of an authorized CBMP (nabilone), and (ii) his IFR was for a limited duration considering his, unfortunately, short prognosis.”

Read full case study


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