A severely epileptic five-year-old girl risks an “unnecessary death” according to her mother after border guards seized her consignment of medical cannabis oils at Stansted airport.
Indie-Rose Clarry, who has Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy, suffered severe seizures and panic attacks before using the medication over the past 14 months, said her mother, Tannine Montgomery.
However, Montgomery was stopped by Border Force officers on Friday after returning from the Netherlands, even though she had a private prescription for the medicine written by her UK doctor.
“Seizing this medicine is condemning my lovely daughter to becoming comatose, racked by seizures and to be at high risk of an unnecessary death,” said Montgomery. “For the love of God, this medicine is legal in the UK and I have a full lawful UK prescription for it.”
Parliament’s health select committee told the Home Office this month to stop confiscating cannabis from the parents of sick children. Despite the government announcing last year that doctors can prescribe medical cannabis, which contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, campaigners said just two NHS prescriptions have so far been granted.
Montgomery, from Suffolk, said that although she had a private UK prescription it was far cheaper to travel to the Netherlands to stock up on the oils. She yesterday urged health secretary Matt Hancock to “sort this crisis out”.
Although it is illegal to import such medicines without a licence, Mongtomery, 30, said UK Border Force officials have previously allowed her into the country with the drug. “To obtain a special import licence would cost us £4,500 per month as opposed to the £1,500 we pay for the drug at the moment,” she said.
Montgomery added that Hancock needed to intervene to halt the suffering of families. “Every day he doesn’t act on it is a day of interminable suffering for mothers like me.
“For families like us it’s too much to bear the frustration of knowing that there’s something that can transform the lives of our children but we are blocked from getting it,” she said. Former home secretary Sajid Javid announced in 2018 that doctors would be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis products, including for severe epilepsy.
However, parents have found they cannot easily access the medicines without paying thousands of pounds for an import licence.
In addition, many doctors will not prescribe them, citing a lack of official guidance on the issue.
Peter Carroll, from the campaign group End Our Pain, added: “This is truly shocking. The law was changed last November so that patients who could benefit from medical cannabis could be prescribed it here.