Posted: 1 July, 2002
Researchers into the use of cannabis-based medicines fear that disabled people could turn to crime to get the drugs unless a multiple sclerosis charity agrees to fund an extension to their medical trial.
Dr John Zajicek wants to continue providing drugs to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) after the end of their trial, which is funded by the Medical Research Council.
But the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which was instrumental in designing the original trial, based at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, has turned down an application to fund an extension.
Dr Zajicek’s team fear that people with MS who want to continue taking the drugs might buy cannabis from drug dealers if the trial is not extended.
They say the extension is necessary on compassionate grounds and would provide useful scientific data.
But the MS Society said that such a long-term trial should use a completely new group of patients, and asked the researchers to resubmit the application.
Dr Zajicek said: "I think the MS Society is failing in its obligation to support treatments for patients.
"I am very disappointed, not for myself but for the patients."
The MS Society now says it will fund the drugs for people coming off the trial while Dr Zajicek submits a new application.
Meanwhile, in May, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence is to examine whether cannabis-based drugs should be recommended for treatment of MS symptoms.
And the Home Affairs Select Committee has recommended that cannabis
should be downgraded from a class B to a class C drug.
Copyright Youreable 2000, 2001 & 2002