In developing policy on the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use, the Government has applied existing arrangements for accessing licensed and unlicensed medicines on the National Health Service. The Department has not had discussions with NHS England, manufacturers or the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on funding arrangements for accessing licensed or unlicensed cannabis-based products, beyond the existing arrangements.
The recent changes to the law to reschedule cannabis-based products for medicinal use, does not impact on the availability of existing licensed cannabis-based medicinal products, such as Sativex and Nabilone. Any medicines which receive a marketing authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or European Medicines Agency will be assessed for cost effectiveness by NICE. This is the foundation of NHS decisions about routine funding, and applies to all licensed medicines.
For unlicensed medicines, the normal NHS medicines governance systems apply, as they do to all locally funded unlicensed treatments. These processes support good clinical practice and safe and effective prescribing. Decisions will be taken, at NHS trust level on a case by case basis, based on the needs of the individual patient and the evidence of efficacy and cost effectiveness available.