Dutch government set to offer six month reprieve for 'life saving' cannabis oil

Scottish families of children with debilitating illnesses were celebrating today after the Dutch government agreed to give a six month reprieve on the supply of 'life-saving' cannabis oils.

Brexit had meant that Bedica and Bedrolite oils, which are solely produced by Dutch firm Transvaal Pharmacy, were unable to be legally prescribed for UK residents.

But a Dutch chemist responsible for producing the oils revealed today that the Dutch health ministry had granted a six month reprieve which allows for his company, Transvaal Pharmacy, to prescribe the oils to UK residents.

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The cannabis oils have revolutionised the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy and has led to children who formerly suffered hundreds of seizures daily to go long periods of time seizure free.

Cole Thomson, 8, with mother Lisa Quarrell, 39 and brother Dylan Thomson, 11.Cole Thomson, 8, with mother Lisa Quarrell, 39 and brother Dylan Thomson, 11.
Cole Thomson, 8, with mother Lisa Quarrell, 39 and brother Dylan Thomson, 11.

Cole Thomson, 8, from East Kilbride suffers from a rare epileptic condition that was resistant to being treated by drugs.

He was required to undergo brain surgery in 2014 and was later prescribed Epidiolex - a CBD only oil produced in the UK - in 2018. But this led to Cole becoming wheelchair bound, unable to speak and suffering regular seizures.

As a result, Cole’s mother, Lisa Quarrell, was forced to turn to smuggling in Bedrolite oils from the Netherlands - a case that was covered in a BBC documentary.

Cole’s condition started to rapidly improve but the family was investigated by Police Scotland following their actions.

Cole was later able to receive a prescription for Bedrolite after a firm in Glasgow secured a licence from the Home Office - and as a result “it saved his life.”

Lisa, who works for the Unison health board, said: “Cole was approaching his last ten days of Bedrolite oils. It was no joke to say that we were preparing for him to have to return to hospital and potentially go into status epilepticus which could have cost him his life.

“When we heard the news today I have not stopped smiling like a Cheshire cat. It is so emotional to know that my little boy's life is no longer at risk. It is going to be a McDonald’s for Cole and his brother to celebrate tonight.

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“This news will allow for me to refocus my efforts on pressuring the Scottish government and NHS to provide a relief fund for parents like myself who are spending over £1,000 a month to save our children's lives.”

At the present moment parents are only able to get a prescription for Bedica or Bedrolite through private clinicians.

It is understood that the NHS in both Scotland and England are unable to provide a prescription as the British Pediatric Neurology Association will not back the prescription of oils containing THC for the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy.

Leaving families thousands out of pocket.

Transvaal Pharmacy said: “We can confirm that the Dutch Health Ministry has given Transvaal Pharmacy permission to continue to supply prescriptions to residents of the UK for the next six months.”

It is understood that the UK health department is preparing a statement at the moment and will publish it as soon as possible.

The Scottish government has also been contacted for comment.

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