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The Role of the Private Sector Supporting the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Post-Brexit

We examine the potential disruption that patients may face obtaining medicinal cannabis post Brexit and how the private sector can play a role in the support of the government, to ensure post-Brexit supply chain continuity for medicinal cannabis.

Recently featured on BBC news is the story of Sophia Gibson – parents of the nine-year-old girl with a severe form of epilepsy are “devastated” after it emerged her supply of cannabis medicine from the Netherlands via her NHS prescription will stop due to Brexit. [1] An upsetting and unexpected outcome of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) cautioned that once the transition period ends, prescriptions issued in the UK will no longer be honoured by EU Member States. In practice, this means that severely epileptic children who are essentially reliant on medical cannabis will be unable to access the treatment they need after Brexit, as the supply chain is based in the Netherlands. [2]

Families are reported to have been given a short warning about this issue and are experiencing distress and anxiety.
Sapphire Medical Clinics
At JPD Capital, making strong partnerships in the medicinal cannabis industry and within healthcare is key to our fund’s success. Sapphire Medical Clinics is the UK’s first medical cannabis clinic and their mission is to reduce the financial barriers and improve access to medical cannabis for UK patients and to ensure continuity of care and treatment. Carl Holvey, Chief Pharmacist at Sapphire Clinics has shared a comment:

“Due to Brexit it is no longer possible to obtain oils made by Dutch pharmacies. Those oils were imported by presenting Dutch Pharmacies with UK prescriptions for cannabis oils. Leaving the EU has meant English prescriptions are no longer valid.

Those oils were used to treat a range of indications: neurologic, mental health, pain and epilepsy. Thankfully, cheaper oils produced by UK companies are acceptable alternatives for most patients. Switching from using Dutch Pharmacies to UK cannabis has drastically reduced the cost of treatment from £3500 to £350/month in the case of those treated for epilepsy and from £400 to £130/month for those treated for pain.

Switching medicines for epilepsy increases the risk of deterioration for the patient and presents a possibility of a rise in frequency or deterioration in the nature of seizures. There is little evidence to recommend one full spectrum cannabis oil over another for the treatment of epilepsy. Where patients with epilepsy are switched a care plan is devised and close monitoring is instigated to ensure the switch is safe.”
JPD capital has multiple medicinal cannabis focused entities within its portfolio, and as a UK based firm, it’s our fund’s aim to support clinics such as Sapphire and provide them with a product they can rely on. JPD Capital will support the UK government and nation with a domestic product cultivated in the UK to meet increasing demand in England, Scotland and Wales post-Brexit.
The government have been under extreme pressure simultaneously managing a global pandemic and Brexit trade deals, and disruption is expected. As a result of pressure from MPs across the House, the Secretary of State requested that the NHS undertake a review as to why NHS prescription numbers are so low. [3] We sympathise with the government position and feel that the private sector can play a key role in improving clinical access and availability of medicinal cannabis for both private sector and public healthcare patient demand.


The group exists to find and examine the evidence to support policymakers in reducing harm and securing the benefits of evidence-based drug policy. The CDPRG act as an advisory panel for the JPD Capital group supported by their unenumerated Policy Council. Crispin Blunt, MP Chairs both the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, and the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group and has shared his comment on the current issues around medicinal cannabis access due to Brexit:

“The chance to rewrite the rules as we lose the constraints of EU rules is especially welcome within the medicinal cannabis sector. More than a million would-be patients are currently cut off from access to appropriate cannabis-based medicines by legislative, regulatory and medical establishment inheritance that can now be addressed. The potential bio-science industry and patient benefits can hardly be overstated. The Brexit transition itself causing the suspension of access to medicinal cannabis from the Netherlands for patients – including some 40 children affected by seizures – currently able to access it was an ironic illustration of the opportunity available in even the most high profile of cases. Whilst we support the British Government in working with the relevant external authorities and doing everything possible to ensure that those currently using medicinal cannabis in the UK can continue to do so uninterrupted as changes in law come into effect, it is the many hundreds of thousands of patients so far unserved by the benefits of medicine derived from Cannabis from anywhere that must be our focus now.”
How you can show your support?
End our Pain is working to improve clinical access for medicinal cannabis in the UK. They advise you to contact your local MP and show your support for improved NHS prescribing practices and the adoption and funding for education programmes aimed at healthcare professionals and clinicians that will help to remove the institutional barriers between patients and access to medicinal cannabis.

You can do this by visiting the link here which will provide a template letter and help you find out who your local MP is: https://endourpain.org/find-my-mp/

On behalf of everyone at JPD Capital, we hope those experiencing issues with access to medicinal cannabis due to Brexit soon gets resolved.
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