HSE approves reimbursement for CBD drug Epidiolex
The HSE has confirmed that Epidiolex will be reimbursed by the state for patients with Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and tuberous sclerosis (TSC).
Epidiolex is a cannabis-based medicine that contains only traces of THC (for more information, see our mini-site on medical cannabis). It is the only cannabis-based medicine authorized for epilepsy in Europe. Long-term clinical evidence supports its use in the treatment of the aforementioned rare epilepsies.
Reimbursement confirmation means the drug will now be available under the medical proposals, long term illness and drug payment plan. This is an extremely positive development for families caring for loved ones with these refractory epilepsies.
Although it is possible to obtain Epidiolex in Ireland from 2019As the drug was not approved for reimbursement, families had to pay for the drug. The costs involved were simply unbearable for families - with many bills in the thousands a month.
The reimbursement approval means that patients and their families can now easily access this drug when prescribed by their clinician and will not face huge bills.
Epilepsy Ireland supported the reimbursement of Epidiolex by submitting a request to the National Center for Pharmaco-economics at the end of 2020. In this submission, we underlined the impact of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome on the whole family unit, their severity and their difficult nature to treat, as well as the lack of treatments available to clinicians.
For these reasons, we are delighted to see the reimbursement of Epidiolex confirmed.
Epilepsy Ireland CEO Peter Murphy praised today's development, commenting: “ Today's announcement by the HSE marks a very important day for us and for the patients we represent. Us for the reimbursement of plead Epidiolex for some time because clinical evidence shows its effectiveness. Access to this medicine can significantly reduce the frequency of seizures for many patients. Today's announcement means than Epidiolex is now covered by long-term sickness, medical card and drug plans. We warmly welcome this decision, which makes it a much more accessible treatment for those who are likely to benefit from its prescription. "