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22. December 2020
Medical News Pharmaceutical United Kingdom

UK NHS Plans Patient Registry to Help Build Evidence Base for Cannabis Medicines

The UK’s NHS has announced plans to launch a new cannabis patient registry in a bid to help build a robust evidence base to support the wider availability of cannabis-based medicines, for UK Patients.

The Patient Registry for Cannabis-Based Products is scheduled to go live in early 2021, with the aim of creating a database of patients that can be called upon to participate in clinical research and trials of medical cannabis medicines.

The NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit behind the registry have said that it will be a web-based application, developed with input from specialist prescribers, clinicians, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The creation of a patient database was one of the recommendations from the report; ‘Barriers to accessing cannabis-based products for medicinal use on NHS prescription’, which came about as a result of an urgent review called by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, earlier this year.

Insufficient clinical data on the efficacy of medical cannabis has been one of the reasons highlighted for the lack of prescriptions through the NHS.

Progress for UK’s Medical Cannabis Industry

The move has been welcomed by those in healthcare. However, some industry professionals have suggested that unless the database is also opened up to the private sector then it may well fail to achieve its desired goals.

One of the UK’s top cannabis doctors Muhammed Vohra, project lead on the patient registry for the NHS, said: “By enabling the standardised collection of data for all patients being prescribed cannabis-based products, to treat certain medical conditions, our aim is to improve patient care through robust monitoring and evaluation.

“For users, the registry supports clinical decisions to be taken, based on the latest guidance, so that we can keep patients safe while gaining better clinical evidence about the potential impact of these fairly recently rescheduled products.”

Professor Mike Barnes, Chair of the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, told BusinessCann: “I welcome the idea and hope it will be used positively to support greater NHS prescriptions, as soon as possible. 

 “However the flaw in an NHS-only registry is that it will tell us nothing on the use of full spectrum products as there are not any NHS prescriptions, except for the three children. In other words it may well be a waste of time, unless the private sector contributes.”