GW Pharmaceuticals plc, the company licensed by the Home Office to develop cannabis extracts into non-smoked prescription medicines, warmly welcomes the Home Secretary's statement yesterday to the Home Affairs Select Committee. The statement confirmed that, "subject to the satisfactory outcome of phase three of the clinical trials currently being carried out, he would approve a change to the law to enable the prescription of cannabis-based medicines".
Throughout the Company's history, GW has worked closely with Home Office officials and provides regular updates to the Home Office on the progress of its clinical trials. GW's phase three clinical trials commenced earlier this year and the Company remains on track to make its first submission to the Medicines Control Agency ("MCA") in 2003. Following MCA approval of GW's non-smoked cannabis based medicinal extracts, yesterday's announcement re-confirms that the Government intends to permit the prescription of these medicines by doctors.
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman, said: "GW's programme is dedicated to providing patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis and other serious medical conditions with prescription medicines which harness the medical effects of cannabis without the harmful effects of smoking. We are delighted that the Home Secretary continues to recognise the potential importance of these medicines for patients."
In yesterday's statement, David Blunkett, Home Secretary, also stated that he was considering re-classifying cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 from Class B to Class C. In doing so, Mr Blunkett stressed that reclassification is quite different from decriminalisation or legalisation and that cannabis will remain a controlled drug and using it a criminal offence.
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