NHS England and NHS Improvement are using extant systems to monitor use of the newly rescheduled unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in England. In England, these systems monitor the number of items dispensed and associated costs in primary care and the volume of products used and associated cost in secondary care. NHS England and NHS Improvement Controlled Drug Accountable Officers are also collecting local intelligence in both the National Health Service and independent sector.
The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is only able to provide information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines that have been prescribed and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority. It does not hold information on prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines which have been issued but not fulfilled.
The following table shows the number of items for Nabilone and Sativex (licensed cannabis-based medicines) and unlicensed cannabis-based medicines that were prescribed on a NHS prescription, dispensed in the community and submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority for reimbursement between November 2018 and June 2019.
Licensed cannabis-based medicines
Unlicensed cannabis-based medicines
In addition to the above, 185 patients have accessed Epidiolex/Epidyolex though the manufacturer’s (GW Pharma) early access programmes ahead of a licensing decision by the European Medicines Agency.