A licence for the importation and dispensing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use on island has been awarded to Karsons Pharmacy in Onchan.
This means that island residents with private prescriptions for medicinal cannabis products will be able to get their prescriptions locally for the first time.
Karsons operates in Onchan and Kirk Michael. Originally established in 1985, the pharmacy in Onchan will be the only on-island pharmacy with a licence to import and dispense medicinal cannabis.
The licence was awarded by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The procurement exercise for this service concluded in May, and following evaluation of responses, only one licence has been offered.
It will allow Karsons to operate the scheme as a pilot for a minimum of 12 months – to import and dispense products, develop a governance process and collect data that evidences need and demand which will help to shape future service provision on the island.
Residents seeking cannabis-based medicinal products will need to do so via a private prescription from a private clinic in the United Kingdom or Crown Dependencies, by clinicians who are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC) and who can prescribe medicinal cannabis.
At this time prescriptions for any cannabis products will not be available on the NHS from the department or Manx Care. Residents will be personally responsible for paying for these private prescriptions, including the cost of consultation, prescriptions and the medicine.
Minister for Health and Social Care Lawrie Hooper said: ‘This licence is the first of its kind on the island, and is a step in the right direction for providing access to a safe, legal and robust dispensing service for residents with private prescriptions.
‘The department will be working closely with Karsons over the course of this pilot to ensure we are providing the right service in the right way.’
The superintendent pharmacist at Karsons, Mukuna Measuria, said: ‘We’re delighted to have been awarded this licence and are looking forward to working closely with the department to deliver and develop this important service. It’s a privilege to be entrusted with contributing to modernising our health service.
‘This is just the beginning of the process in setting up and delivering a safe and effective service for the island. We recognise there are patients who have been patiently waiting to access their medication, and together with the department, are striving to establish the service as quickly as possible.’
More details will be published soon detailing how the process will work, and to provide information about accessing the service and when the service will start.
It is hoped the service will be in place before the end of summer.
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