Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Controlled drugs

NHS England to fast-track funding for Epidyolex

Patients will be able to access the cannabidiol (CBD) medicine Epidyolex from the NHS from 6 January 2019, NHS England has announced.

On 18 December 2018, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that Epidyolex (GW Pharmaceuticals) be provided by the NHS as an adjunct therapy for two severe forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It is to be used alongside clobazam.

In a statement published on 21 December 2019, NHS England said that, following an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals, access to the medicine had been fast-tracked and would be available from the first week of January 2020.

A spokesperson for NHS England told The Pharmaceutical Journal that, although the NHS is usually expected to fund a medicine within three months, Epidyolex was being made available “significantly faster than usual”.

Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action, said: “New treatment options for severe epilepsies do not come very often and many families feel they have already been waiting too long to access medicines like Epidyolex”, Lee said.

“This announcement brings much-needed hope and could be life-changing for some.”

But Lee added it “is not a silver bullet”.

“There is work to be done to collect robust high-quality evidence of the effectiveness of other cannabis-based medicines, including those containing both CBD and [tetrahydrocannabinol],” he said.

“In the meantime, more people with severe epilepsies should be given the opportunity to access cannabis-based medicines now.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207506

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.