Today, and 2 years following the rescheduling of cannabis-based medicinal products in the UK, Sapphire Medical Foundation announced its first patient has successfully proceeded through the grant making processes and has seen a clinical specialist who has confirmed eligibility for treatment with cannabis-based medicines. As a result, Sapphire Medical Foundation will fund the treatment for at least one year. The Foundation is the first of its kind and was set up to reduce the financial barriers of access to medical cannabis where clinically appropriate for those who are unable to afford potentially life-changing treatment. The majority of UK medical cannabis patients receive prescriptions through the private sector and with limited access on the NHS, many prospective patients are unable to afford the prohibitive costs associated with a prescription.
38-year-old Kirran has been selected to have her treatment funded following application through the first grant round. She suffers with debilitating chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis which was further exacerbated by a car accident six years ago. As a trained teacher, her condition has left her unable to work and she has experienced a functional decline due to her symptoms which sometimes causes problems with tasks as basic as washing her hair or doing the housework. Her reaction to the news of becoming the first grant recipient: “My pain stops me doing the career I love. I love teaching and being in the classroom, for me there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying. The foundation grant is a beacon of hope for me in amidst the darkness. It represents the hope that I won’t always have to live my life like this, that one day I may be able to return to teaching, regain a social life and be able to live my life instead of feeling my life is passing me by.”
Dr Simon Erridge, Co-Founder and Trustee of Sapphire Medical Foundation comments “We are delighted to be supporting Kirran. She has gone through all conventional therapy to try to ease her pain with no success. It is a real pleasure to help give this opportunity to any individual so severely affected by their health condition. However, the real shame is that we can’t help more individuals. With the volume of applications in our first grant round, we know we need to continue fundraising to support these patients in need”
Trustee of the Foundation and England Rugby player George Kruis commented: “Sapphire Medical Foundation gives hope to patients who may benefit from cannabis-based medicines but are unable to afford the current cost of treatment. With further fundraising, we will help many more patients and I am glad to be a part of it.”
Dr Daniel Couch, Medical Lead at Centre for Medicinal Cannabis said “The evidence for how cannabis-based medical products can affect patients is steadily growing. Removing financial barriers to such prescriptions such as in Kirran’s case can significantly impact a patient’s symptoms and is an excellent example of how novel medicines can change lives. Tackling the hurdle of financial costs must take precedent in the designing of a system which provides these medicines in an effaceable and safe way.”