Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

Health minister does not prescribe medical cannabis or give instructions to do so

Regarding the item in Tales from the Coffeeshop (Sunday Mail, 16 July 2017), claiming that doctors of the Oncology Centre of the Bank of Cyprus, received a letter from the minister of health, which gave instructions for the issuing of a prescription for cannabis oil to a patient, we would like to clarify that the procedure in the case of a request for the prescription of cannabis oil is the following:

The patient sends a letter to the minister of health, attaching the report from the doctor treating him, asking the minister to approve, as an exception, the provision of cannabis oil, as part of his treatment.

Subsequently, the minister of health, based on the authorisation granted to him by the law, sends a letter – always to the patient – with which he informs him about the approval of his request.

Parallel to this, the minister sends a letter to Pharmaceutical Services of the ministry of health, informing them that the provision of cannabis oil to the patient has been approved, as an exception. The Pharmaceutical Services, having secured the doctor’s prescription from the patient, tell the patient from which chemist he could obtain the cannabis oil.

It is noted that, according to the Law on Narcotic Medicine and Psychotropic Substances of 1977, possession and use of cannabis is illegal. It is underlined that the minister of health, taking into account the powers afforded to him by the said law, grants permission, as an exception, for the provision of medical cannabis oil, for exclusive use by the named patient. However, it is the exclusive responsibility of the doctor of the patient to prescribe the drug, which is why it is necessary to present the doctor’s prescription to the Pharmaceutical Services.

Consequently, it is stressed that on no account does the minister of health give instructions to doctors treating a patient to prescribe cannabis oil.

Margarita Kyriakou,  Press Officer, Ministry of Health

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