Health Secretary Shona Robison has agreed to meet a campaigning mother who wants a cannabis based treatment to be made available on the NHS to help her son, who can suffer up to 100 seizures a day.
Karen Grey believes cannabidiol – an oil derivative from the cannabis plant – could be used to treat five-year-old Murray, who has a rare form of epilepsy.
She has launched an online petition as part of her campaign, and now the Health Secretary has agreed to meet her after her case was raised in the Scottish Parliament.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh Western, raised the issue telling Ms Robison: “My constituent Murray Grey suffers many violent seizures every single day due to a rare form of epilepsy. He is just five years old.
“The only relief that could be afforded to Murray is in the properties of the cannabis derivative cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It is legal but not currently available on the NHS.
“His mother Karen is willing to procure and administer it herself but wants medical support and advice to do this safely.”
Murray is 5. Heâs got epilepsy which gives him violent seizures. The only relief he finds is a #cannabis derivative called Cannabidoil (CBD). Itâs legal but not licensed for prescription by the NHS. That needs to change. Please sign and share: https://t.co/U61KR7EIIw— Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP🔶 (@agcolehamilton) March 22, 2018
In her online petition Ms Grey told how her son suffers from Doose Syndrome / Myoclonic Astatic Epilepsy (MAE), which she said means he “lives with up to 100 seizures a day, and spends most of his life lying in a hospital bed shaking”.
She added: “It is very hard to control with the medicine currently available and it has been proven in other countries that medical cannabis helps people with illnesses like his.
“In the USA medical cannabis has helped stop the daily aggressive seizures that children with this syndrome have.
“If medical cannabis was available on the NHS my son may have a chance of a normal life.”
Ms Robison said: “I have every sympathy for Murray Grey and his family and of course I would be happy to meet with them.
“It is not the Scottish Government or the NHS that approves licences for use of such products, under the terms of the current UK wide regulations manufacturers of medicinal products must have a licence for their medicine before it can be placed on the market in the UK for safety reasons.
“Currently there are no cannabidiol products that have obtained a licence.”
The Health Secretary added: “Regulation for the licensing, safety and efficacy of medicines is currently reserved to the UK Government and is the responsibility of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who operate on a UK wide basis.
“All medicinal products must be fully tested and researched before they can be licensed by either the MHRA or the European Medicines Agency.”
She said if a pharmaceutical company obtained a licence for such a product, they would then have to make a submission to the Scottish Medicines Consortium, for it to determine if it could be used by the NHS.