Glass Pharms are supporting a Health Economics Analysis study conducted by the University of York that will examine the potential economic cost benefits if cannabis-based medicines were prescribed to chronic pain patients on the NHS.

The research will include a financial comparison of cannabis and other treatments for tackling chronic pain, alongside a consideration of cost and outcomes over a one-year time period. The project is also being supported by the Cannabis Industry Council and Drug Science.

Mike Morgan-Giles, CEO of the Cannabis Industry Council, commented:

“Providing the NHS with the economic case for expanding cannabis prescriptions is critical if we are to help patients obtain the medicine they need to treat their conditions. The Cannabis Industry Council is therefore delighted that the project can now kick off, and we are grateful to Glass Pharms and other funders for their support.”

Anne Katrin Schlag, Head of Research at Drug Science, said:

“Many patients are successfully using cannabis-based medicinal products to treat chronic pain. Unfortunately, in the UK, medical cannabis is not currently available through the NHS to treat this condition, meaning that patients face significant costs to access the medicine via private healthcare. Drug Science is excited that our health economics analysis is going ahead as, for any future NHS approval, it is important to find out whether medical cannabis will be cost-effective when compared to other treatments currently available.”

James Duckenfield, CEO Glass Pharms

‘A recent study published in the US has shown chronic pain patients using medical cannabis were able to reduce their use of other pain medications by more than 50%. If the NHS was to offer this in the UK, we could see benefits both for patients and potential cost savings for healthcare. We are supporting this health economics analysis to help provide the data needed for the NHS to make an informed decision on this.’

Within the project, an economic modelling tool will be developed to consider the costs, resource use and utility of medical cannabis. It is envisaged the tool will demonstrate the viability of prescribing cannabis on the NHS under different scientific assumptions.

Drug Science will also make available Twenty21 project data available to the researchers.

The project is anticipated to be completed within the first half of 2023.