12 Mar BBC Taken In By The Sativex Scam

Bald and bubbly Dominic Littlewood walked straight into the welcoming arms of the joint GW Pharma/Home Office propaganda machine last week. In fact, Dominic needs to face up to the fact that this time he was the one who was conned.

He meekly repeated the lies that seek to distinguish Sativex from cannabis. A complaint has been submitted.

BBC Complaints

Dear Sirs,

Postcode Lottery, 7th March 2012

I am the elected leader of Cannabis Law Reform (CLEAR), a UK political party which seeks an end to the prohibition of cannabis, most urgently for those who need it as medicine.

I wish to complain about the inaccurate and misleading information broadcast about Sativex during the above programme.

Dominic Littlewood, the presenter, said:

“Sativex is a drug made from cannabis. It is legal because all of the elements that would naturally cause a cannabis high are removed first and it works because the active ingredients that are left radically reduce the pain in the inflamed nerve endings of MS sufferers.”

This is entirely false. Sativex is an whole plant extract made from two different strains of cannabis. It contains all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpines and other compounds that naturally occur in the plants. It is, in fact, a super strong, super concentrated tincture of 51% THC skunk cannabis. “Euphoric mood” is described as a “common” side effect in the Sativex summary of product characteristics (SPC). Sativex most certainly gets you “high” and this is part of its therapeutic effect.

Even more worrying than the gross inaccuracy in this description is that it matches exactly with the disinformation campaign about Sativex from its manufacturers GW Pharmaceuticals which is supported by the Home Office.

GW Pharmaceuticals and the Home Office seek falsely to distinguish Sativex from cannabis as part of a dishonest and misleading government policy which states that “there is no medicinal value in cannabis”.

I applaud the programme’s description of the great benefit that Sativex offers MS patients and its exposure of the way the “postcode lottery” discriminates against some. However, the even greater cause for concern is the government sponsored deception of what Sativex actually is.

Sativex is sold to the NHS at 10 times the price that cannabis is available from organised crime on the streets. This is why so many PCTs are reluctant to pay for it. MS patients who might choose to grow their own cannabis, virtually for free, face jail and a criminal record for doing so.

It cannot be right that the BBC so uncritically repeats this GW and government sponsored propaganda.

This misinformation must be corrected by an apology and a correction broadcast to ensure that all those who were misled by the programme are properly informed.

Beyond that, I do believe that the BBC and Dominic Littlewood genuinely have consumers’ and patients’ interests in mind. The full resources of CLEAR would be put at your disposal should you wish to produce a programme that properly investigates the “Sativex Scam”, the unlawful GW Pharma monopoly of medicinal cannabis and the cruel and dishonest government policy which denies people the medicine they need.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Reynolds