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Spain: Minister of Health says that information on medical cannabis is “insufficient” and that he cannot “recommend its use”

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Photo: DR | Congress of Deputies of Spain

The Spanish Minister of Health, José María Miñones, said today in the Chamber of Deputies of Spain that, in addition to the spasticity derived from Multiple Sclerosis and the different types of Epilepsy, “unfortunately”, for other diseases, the information available on medical cannabis “is insufficient and we cannot recommend its use”. Miñones left deputy Josune Gorospe, from the Basque Parliamentary Group PNV, “frozen”, who considered the Minister's response “a regression”. Also Carola Perez, president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, has already regretted these statements.

José María Miñones, who was appointed this Monday as Spain's new Minister of Health, replacing Carolina Darias, made his debut in government this morning, in plenary Session. The first question he received was about the regulation of medical cannabis, posed by MP Josune Gorospe, from the Basque Parliamentary Group PNV.

Gorospe began by warning Miñones that he is already “the third Minister that we have questioned in this legislature about the regulation of the medical-therapeutic use of cannabinoids” and that the regulation of medical cannabis that would allow them to know “which patients could have access to this type of products is already 3 months late", questioning him directly: "when does the government intend to fulfill the mandate of this chamber on the regulation of the medical and therapeutic use of cannabinoids?"

With some visible nervousness, the Minister read his notes on a paper, saying that currently there are already some drugs or cannabis preparations duly authorized in Spain, namely for spasticity derived from Multiple Sclerosis and for different types of Epilepsy. However, and “unfortunately”, the Minister stated that “the information is insufficient and we cannot recommend its use. We must go hand in hand with scientific evidence to balance benefit and risk. We continue to work on it,” he said, in a brief response.

Gorospe was indignant and stated that the response left her "cold". “Your answer is a regression”, he began by saying, stating that a government Commission spent 6 months working with entities, experts and representatives of other governments in order to gather evidence. “How can you tell me there's no evidence? Listen, read and pay attention to what we have here. Don't make a fool of yourself and put us in the situation other European countries are in and give patients in the state the same opportunity as other patients elsewhere,” she said.

Once again, the Minister of Health indicated that the Medicines Agency is working on a report “that allows us to establish the most appropriate regulation to pursue two objectives: safety and effectiveness”, adding that the agency will continue to work and analyze the scientific literature in order to establish the modality that best suits the needs of patients and the Spanish regulatory system”, he concluded.

Speaking to Cannareporter, Carola Perez, president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, regretted these statements, saying they were like a “cold shower” for Spanish patients. “We are aware that [the minister] has been in office for 24 hours, but the statements were difficult for us, because he received incorrect information about the process”. Visibly disappointed, Carola Perez says patients will "continue to work hard" in this process. “We have until the next elections to put pressure on the government and that's what we're going to do,” she said.

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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