12 Oct The Man From The MHRA. Endangering Public Health With Precipitate Action On CBD.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) apparent decision to designate cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine is an unholy mess and has been handled about as badly as it is possible for a government agency to deal with a matter of public safety.
The desk of Dr Ian Hudson, the Chief Executive, will shortly be groaning under the weight of correspondence from MPs asking him to explain exactly what is going on. We know that the MHRA call centre has been swamped with calls from people desperate for information and in fear that they will be cut off from supplies of the food supplement that is so important for their health. Many are now being told that no final decision has been taken and everyone is in limbo waiting for some coherent response. We say “apparent decision” because nothing is clear, no public statement has been issued and anything you have seen in the press is from responses to individuals.
Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP and a member of the CLEAR advisory board has written to Dr Hudson urging him to meet with CLEAR, Professor Mike Barnes and the newly-formed UK Cannabis Trade Association to discuss what interim arrangements can be put in place. Tens of thousands of people’s health has been placed in jeopardy and not for trivial matters. People suffering from serious conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and Crohn’s Disease have come to rely on CBD products to maintain their health. There are also hundreds of jobs in danger at suppliers providing CBD to the UK market.
We know that many CLEAR members have asked their MP to write to the MHRA seeking clarification. In Crispin Blunt’s letter he goes further.
“The decision to designate CBD as a medicine is directly contradicted by the Home Office’s position that cannabis has no medicinal value. It is vital that we do not let this anomaly in government policy cause harm to people’s health. I should be grateful, therefore, if you could explain how the MHRA reached its decision, the consultations it undertook, which specific regulatory regime it proposes for these products and whether the continued supply of these products, regulated as food supplements, can be ensured until such time medicinal marketing authorisations can be obtained.”
CLEAR has received a holding response from the MHRA indicating that a meeting will be arranged and that we will hear by the end of this week. Responsible action from a government agency that is supposed to protect, not endanger public health is urgently needed.