MEDICAL CANNABIS users in Ireland will no longer have to travel to the Netherlands to collect prescriptions.
Previously, patients or family members were quired to travel to the continent to pick up the medicine due to a ban on the export of cannabis oil out of Holland.
However, a delivery service that was previously introduced as a temporary measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic has been made permanent.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was among those to welcome the change as beneficial to the welfare of patients and safety of those making the long trips.
“Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my Department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives,"” he said.
“They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication.
“There will no longer be a need for them to travel abroad in order to collect their prescribed cannabis products. Instead, they can focus on their health and wellbeing.
“The welfare of patients and their families comes first and I am happy to reassure them that they will no longer have to personally source their prescriptions.”
The Netherlands allows prescriptions for medical cannabis to be filled from other EU countries with the majority of Irish patients collecting products from the Hague’s Transvaal Pharmacy.
At present, doctors in Ireland are able to prescribe medical cannabis through the ministerial licencing route.
All licences are granted by the Department of Health, following the submission of an application from the doctor responsible for the patient set to be administered the drug.
It is the responsibility of the doctor involved to monitor the effects of the treatment.
There are current 30 licence holders across Ireland.
New laws allowing for the operation of a Medical Cannabis Access Programme were signed by the Health Minister back in June 2019.
While the change marks a significant one, it is only on a pilot basis running up to the year 2024l
The Department of Health has yet to finalise how the new collection and delivery service will operate.
Medical cannabis users no longer have to go abroad for prescriptions