The UK government has granted a license to use medical cannabis to another child with epilepsy. Alfie Dingley, a six-year-old from Kenilworth, England will now be able to use a medical marijuana therapy to treat his condition. The news comes after another UK boy, Billy Caldwell, received a similar license over the weekend.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the decision in Parliament Tuesday. Javid also told the House of Commons that he is launching a review of the regulation of medicinal cannabis. That discussion could eventually make it easier for doctors to prescribe medical marijuana therapies in the UK.
“It has become clear to me that the position we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory,” Javid said. “It’s not satisfactory for the parents, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors, and it’s not satisfactory for me. I have now come to the conclusion that it is time to review the scheduling of cannabis.”
Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy that can cause up to 30 seizures per day. He had been successfully using a cannabis medicine to treat his illness after the family moved to the Netherlands, where it is legal. But they had to return home when funds ran out and turned to the UK government for help.
Mum Receives News on Live TV
Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, received the news of Javid’s decision on live television. During an interview about her struggle to obtain medicinal cannabis for Alfie, a reporter told Deacon that Javid had approved the license. The reporter then asked Deacon for her reaction.
“It’s amazing news, thank you very much for letting me know,” Deacon said as she began to cry.
In March, Deacon and Alfie’s father, Drew Dingley, met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in a bid to secure a prescription for her son. During that meeting, Alfie’s parents delivered a petition with the signatures of nearly 380,000 people calling on May to grant the license. Alfie also received support from actor Sir Patrick Stewart.
After the meeting, Deacon told reporters that the government had “approved in principle” granting the license to Alfie.
“We had a positive meeting, they accept the compassionate issuing of a license for Alfie,” Deacon said.“Now we need our medical professionals to write the prescription.”
But three months later, the license still had not come through for Alfie. Before learning of Javid’s decision, Deacon shared her frustration during Tuesday’s interview.
“I met the Prime Minister on March 20 in Number 10. I appealed to her directly,” Deacon told the interviewer.
“She looked at me. She met my son and she told me that they would find a way in which our clinicians could be issued with a Schedule 1 license to give my son the medicine that he had in Holland. I believed her.”
License Is Second Granted by UK Government This Week
The UK government granted Alfie’s license to use medical cannabis only days after it did the same for Billy Caldwell. The 12-year-old had also been using cannabis to treat epilepsy. Billy was the first patient in the UK to receive a prescription for a cannabis therapy from the National Health Service. But when the government announced it what not allow any more prescriptions, Billy and his mother flew to Canada to receive more medicine.
The boy has since recovered and been discharged.