Cannabis-based Sativex approved for NHS use in Scotland 

The Scottish Medicines Consortium's decision to approve Sativex brings it in line with the rest of the UK.
Pharmacist holding a box containing Sativex

Patients in Scotland with multiple sclerosis (MS) will now be able to access Sativex on the NHS, according to the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

The approval means the cannabis-based medicine is now available on the NHS for patients with MS across the UK.

Sativex, manufactured by GW Pharma, is an oromucosal spray that contains both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Following the approval, prescribers in Scotland can provide it to help relieve spasticity in adult patients with MS, who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication, such as baclofen and gabapentin, and who show clear improvement in spasticity symptoms following an initial four-week trial period.

On 12 September 2022, the SMC updated its website to say it was satisfied that “the economic case for Sativex has been demonstrated”.

According to the advice document published by the SMC, GW Pharma estimated that there would be 552 patients eligible for treatment in the first year of NHS availability.

“The gross impact on the medicines budget for all patients was estimated to be £477,394 in year one rising to £591,549 in year five based on the number of patients estimated to be eligible,” it added.

Its decision brings Scotland into line with the rest of the UK. The NHS in Wales has funded Sativex on the NHS since 2014, while NHS England agreed to do the same in 2019 and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland followed suit in 2021.

In its announcement, the SMC said it had received patient group submissions from three charities: the MS Society, the MS Trust and Revive MS.

Morna Simpkins, director for Scotland at the MS Society, welcomed the decision: “Sativex has been proven to relieve muscle spasms and their associated pain, leading to improved mobility, better sleep patterns and a better quality of life for the person living with MS and their partner, family and loved ones,” she said.

“We’ll continue to work with the SMC, NHS Scotland, individual health boards and neurologists to make sure Sativex quickly becomes available to everyone throughout Scotland whose life could be significantly improved by taking it.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2022, Vol 309, No 7965;309(3965)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.157154

    Please leave a comment 

    You may also be interested in