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Mum of Lancashire boy with severe epilepsy takes cannabis oil battle to Downing Street

The parents of a Much Hoole boy with severe epilepsy have been to Downing Street to demand MPs take immediate action over life-changing medication.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:00 am
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Joanne and son Ben

Joanne Griffiths and her family are spending more than £2,000 a month paying privately for medical cannabis oil which has reduced 10-year-old Ben’s seizures from 300 a day to 12.

Two cannabis based medicines have been cleared for NHS use – but a row over the price set by drug companies has stalled their roll-out.

Instead, families are still having to turn to private doctors and raise the cash themselves. They accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock of breaking promises.

” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />Joanne, 44, said: “Matt Hancock promised to help us when we met him in March. He told all of us parents that the treatment would be available in several months time. Now it’s nearly 12 months on and nothing’s changed.

“We are demanding this treatment is made available immediately while costs are worked out, because our children can’t wait.”

Asked if he lied to Mrs Griffiths while on BBC Breakfast, Mr Hancock said: “No, I met her and many other parents whose children benefit from these cannabis-based drugs. I changed the law to allow the cannabis-based drugs to be used in this country.

“There was then a report from the National Institute which decides what is paid for on the NHS that came out exactly as she said a few months after our meeting and that report said that the costs that are being charged by the companies are too high.”

He claims he is working “incredibly hard” to get the drugs available on the NHS.

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