Government to return drug seized by Border Force after criticism from MPs and activists
'Medical cannabis confiscated from the mother of a severely epileptic child is to be returned after MPs and campaigners criticised the failure to provide adequate access to the potentially lifesaving medicine through the NHS.
Emma Appleby – whose daughter Teagan, 9, suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which can cause up to 300 seizures a day – was “overjoyed” by the decision, but she renewed her criticism of the current system which she said “just isn’t working”.
The family had the medicine prescribed by a paediatric neurologist in the Netherlands but it was seized by Border Force officials on Saturday. They then obtained a private prescription from a specialist consultant in the UK before the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced the £4,500 supply bought with crowdfunded money would be returned on Saturday.
“We’d fought for months to get access to medical cannabis in this country but were blocked at every turn, even though it’s now legal here,” Appleby, from Aylesham near Dover, said. “But overjoyed as I am, my heart goes out to those other families with severely epileptic children who are in the depths of despair.
“Neither I, nor they, should be put through this bureaucratic trauma. The system just isn’t working.”
The government was criticised by MPs on Monday after the confiscation of Appleby’s medicine highlighted the narrow guidelines governing access to cannabis medicines. Campaigners are unaware of a single new NHS prescription for cannabis oils containing significant amounts of THC since legalisation in November.
Read more: Teagan Appleby to have confiscated medical cannabis returned