Tuesday 11 May 2021

Brexit is depriving over 40 children of life-saving Dutch cannabis oil: AD

A potted cannabis seedling. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Over 40 British children who use a specific type of cannabis oil to treat severe epilepsy can no longer have their prescriptions filled with their supplier in the Netherlands because Britain has left the EU, the AD has reported.

Full-extract cannabis oil is seen by many to be a lifesaver in the treatment of epilepsy and British doctors were given permission to prescribe the oil in 2017 after a campaign by the mother of nine-year-old Alfie Dingley who suffered up to 150 attacks a week.

The cbd oil, sourced in the Netherlands, greatly reduced his and other children’s symptoms.

The parents were only told about their supply would be cut off two weeks before January 1 in what Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon called a ‘terrifying message’. Deacon said the British health ministry had been unhelpful and had referred her to other cannabis based medication which is available to them in Britain.

Deacon, whose supply will run out in two months’ time, said the British medication is not the same as the Dutch product and that her family doctor had said her son’s health could be endangered if his medication is changed.

Chemist Paul Lebbink from The Hague, who is the only supplier of medical cannabis oil in the Netherlands, confirmed that Dutch cbd oil has a different composition.

While the British variants are based on chemicals, the Dutch oil comes from plants. ‘That means they do not contain elements that are found in the British oil. Children who used the British oil suffered more, not fewer, attacks,’ he told the AD.

Lebbink said he is conforming with the new rules with a heavy heart but said he will not supply the oil illegally. ‘I have a good relationship with the health inspectorate and we are very happy they are supporting the export of cannabis oil,’ he said.

The only solution is for the oil to be produced in Britain, Lebbink said, and efforts by a British pharmaceuticals compay are already underway to procure a licence.

The Dutch health ministry said in a reaction that ‘this is familiar bottleneck on the British side caused by Brexit’.

‘The Netherlands has indicated a way to solve the problem in a practical way and is in talks with the British government. It is very important for this group that a solution is found as soon as possible,’ the ministry said in a statement.

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