GW Pharmaceuticals plc has welcomed the Government's statement that it will ask the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to examine the possible provision of the Company's medicines by the National Health Service.
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman of GW, commented, "This is a positive move by the Government. Recommendation by NICE would further smooth the way for our cannabis-based medicines to be available nationwide to NHS patients on prescription, if our current trials are successful."
GW is now conducting Phase III clinical trials of cannabis-based medicines for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer Pain and other forms of nerve pain, with the aim of preparing data for Product Licence Approval. The cannabis-based medicines are being administered by means of a sublingual (under-the-tongue) spray. In the event of a Licence being granted, the Home Secretary has already indicated that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 will be amended to allow the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines.
GW expects to bring its first prescription medicines to market in early 2004. This will allow sufferers of MS, Cancer Pain, Spinal Cord Injury, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other neurological disorders to experience the medical benefits of cannabis without unwanted psychoactive side effects, and without the health dangers associated with smoking.
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GW Pharmaceuticals pl:+ 44 1980 557000
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman
Justin Gover, Managing Director
Weber Shandwick SquareMile: + 44 20 7067 0700
Kevin Smith/Graham Herring