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Alfie and Hannah (photograph credit score: Claire Carroll)

Hannah Deacon, mom of nine-year-old Alfie Dingley who has a uncommon genetic kind of epilepsy, has accused the British Authorities of failing to take motion to make sure her son and 41 different youngsters proceed receiving their hashish medication from Holland after the UK formally left the European Union on the thirty first December 2020.

Simply two weeks earlier than the UK was on account of depart the EU, the UK Division of Well being and Social Care despatched letters to pharmacies, medical hashish clinics and marketing campaign teams indicating that UK prescriptions would now not be recognised by EU pharmacies and that different options to completed hashish oil merchandise from the Netherlands ought to be sourced. Somewhat perplexingly, this information was circuitously communicated to the mother and father of the youngsters affected by the change.

In what Deacon describes as a “full lack of knowledge of medical hashish” by UK Division of Well being officers, the Authorities’s last-minute missive additionally exhibits how little comprehension they’ve of the precarious nature of seizure management in youngsters with refractory epilepsy.

Often Hospitalized

Earlier than Alfie started taking medical hashish, docs struggled to regulate his seizures which noticed him frequently hospitalized. Prescribing steroids appeared to assist, however docs warned their long run use might finally kill him.

Like many mother and father, Hannah’s determined seek for an alternate strategy to handle Alfie’s epilepsy led her to hashish. On the time, medical hashish wasn’t authorized within the UK, so the household turned their consideration to the Netherlands. After a number of months of crowdfunding, they’d raised sufficient to maneuver to the Hague the place Alfie started his therapy below the care of a pediatric neurologist.

Alfie was prescribed Bedrolite, a complete plant CBD product developed by the Dutch firm Bedrocan for epilepsy. It was a gradual course of, however after a number of months Alfie’s seizures have been lastly below management.

Nevertheless, when the household’s funds ran out, they have been pressured to return to the UK the place Alfie might now not legally entry his life-saving hashish medication.

Nothing strikes mountains (or adjustments laws) like a mom’s love, and the ultimate legalization of medical hashish in November 2018 was a lot on account of Deacon’s impassioned campaigning on her return to the UK. Certainly, Alfie grew to become the primary affected person to get a prescription for medical hashish via the Nationwide Well being Service (NHS).

UK Prescriptions Not Acknowledged

Alfie’s excessive profile profitable seizure management utilizing Bedrolite might be the explanation why forty different youngsters from the UK with refractory epilepsy are additionally at present prescribed Bedrolite.

Within the Netherlands, non-approved medicines like Bedrolite requiring a prescription have to be disbursed to abroad sufferers immediately from the pharmacies in Holland the place they have been formulated – and this requirement has caused unexpected issues in a post-Brexit period the place UK prescriptions are now not acknowledged in Europe.

In a press release to The Guardian newspaper, Division of Well being officers stated they “sympathize with sufferers coping with difficult circumstances” however insisted that “a variety of different cannabis-based medicines can be found to UK sufferers.”

Deacon believes this recommendation to easily ‘swap’ Bedrolite for an “different” product might have harmful penalties for Alfie’s seizure management, which will be disrupted with the smallest change in remedy – an opinion shared by everybody concerned in Alfie’s scientific care.

“It’s not like we’re saying effectively, that generic paracetamol shouldn’t be out there,” she explains, “so you possibly can take one other generic paracetamol. It’s nonsense. That’s not the way in which you employ medical hashish.”

Life and Dying

“That is about life and dying. That is about me having to take my baby into hospital at two o’clock within the morning, maintain him down till somebody can get a line into him till they’ll get steroids into him. That’s unacceptable…. Why ought to my son face that when he’s discovered a drugs that works for him?”

“I don’t need to face a life with out my baby,” insists Deacon, “particularly due to the ineptitude of a authorities. That’s not going to occur… We perceive that epilepsy ebbs and flows, and generally it will get higher and generally it will get worse. And if Alfie turns into unwell once more, which he’ll most likely as a result of he has seizures, I need that to be due to epilepsy. I don’t need that to be as a result of a authorities can’t be bothered to succeed in out and try to work out a approach by which we will get his product into the nation after the Brexit deal.”

Regardless of the obvious intransigence from each UK and Dutch officers, Deacon is satisfied that with sufficient political will, this Brexit afterthought will be resolved.

“I do know that this may be performed.” she says. “This isn’t too laborious. That is in regards to the Dutch being versatile with their laws and the UK being receptive to a plan to work this out… So, I’m calling on the Division of Well being to do the best factor to work with their counterparts within the Dutch authorities to discover a approach.”

On the time of writing, it seems the UK Authorities could also be heeding to strain from medical hashish activists. Secretary of State of Well being Matt Hancock is making noises about working with Dutch authorities to discover a ‘legal fix’ to the scenario, though this hasn’t been immediately communicated to Deacon or the opposite mother and father.


Mary Biles, a Venture CBD contributing author, is a journalist, blogger and educator with a background in holistic well being. Primarily based between the UK and Spain, she is dedicated to precisely reporting advances in medical hashish analysis.


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