The GP for a seven-year-old boy whose mother uses cannabis-based drugs to treat his epilepsy has agreed to write to the Scottish Government in an attempt to secure him a prescription.
Dr Desmond Spence is writing to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on behalf of Karen Gray, whose son Murray takes medicinal cannabis to keep crippling seizures at bay.
The doctor, from the Barclay Medical Practice Eastcraigs in Edinburgh, said that it was “ridiculous” that Gray was having to fork out more than £1,300 month to have the drugs couriered from Holland for her son.
Murray, who suffers from Doose syndrome, a rare from of epilepsy found in early childhood and was at one point having upwards of 600 seizures per day, has not had a one since June.
Gray, 44, from Edinburgh, says she gives her son a “tiny” dose of the drug Bedica which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is an active ingredient in whole plant cannabis oil.
Spence said: “It just seemed a bit ridiculous that this medicine is available in Europe, so Karen is getting that quite legally and it’s being imported and the prescription is being issued by a consultant in London.
“There’s nothing illegal about what’s happening but she’s having to shell out over £1,000 a month and it doesn’t seem fair.
“The medicine seems to be effective and she’s managed to keep her son out of hospital for this time and back into education – so it makes no sense to me.”
Gray has lobbied the UK Government for a prescription on the NHS to fund the drugs along with other mothers in the same situation as part of the campaign group End Our pain.
She said: “My doctor is on the case and wants to prescribe this for Murray, so he is writing to Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to try and get something done.
“I’ve also got Alex Cole-Hamilton helping and he’s been speaking to her as well and I believe Jeane Freeman is meeting with the Chief Medical Officer to sort something out as there are only three children in Scotland are getting the medicine brought in by the courier and have private prescriptions to do this.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton, MSP, said: “It’s outrageous for anyone to have to import medicine from the Netherlands at such vast personal expense because clinicians in the UK are reluctant to write the necessary prescription.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The scheduling of Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use (CBPMs) is reserved to the UK Government and the Scottish Government has no powers to alter its status.”