In an earlier article, ‘The medicinal cannabis debacle: legal but unavailable’, we highlighted that the only realistic possibility of obtaining a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK was to pay privately.
We reported that “The only consultant who has so far put his head above the parapet to confirm he has issued private prescriptions for cannabis is Dr David McDowell, a pain specialist from Lancashire, in each case for a chronic pain condition.”
Dr McDowell has now joined forces with other like-minded clinicians to form The Medical Cannabis Clinics. The first clinic was opened in Cheadle, Greater Manchester in March 2019 and their second clinic has now opened for business out of a consulting room facility at 10 Harley Street, London. A third clinic is scheduled to open in Solihull in the West Midlands “in early summer 2019”.
Deep pockets required
Whilst this potentially opens a door to those suffering chronic conditions which may benefit from medical cannabis where more conventional medicines have failed, it will be an expensive door to open. On their website they state that:
“A consultation with one of our specialists will cost £250. If you are self-referred and therefore require an additional appointment with our GP, this will cost an additional £100. Any follow up appointments with our specialists will cost £150.”
However, crucially, this does not include the cost of the prescription. On their website they state:
“The cost of medical cannabis varies depending on the products recommended for you, and the dose of the medication, which varies from person to person. We employ a ‘start low go slow approach’ to get the most benefit at the lowest dose in order to find the minimum.”
An article about The Medical Cannabis Clinics published in the Evening Standard on 18th June 2019 is a little more direct about the cost, stating “prescriptions will cost £600 to £700 a month.”
On the assumption that is correct, on the basis of cost alone, for most people medical cannabis will continue to remain as out of reach as ever.