Girl with epilepsy ‘at risk of death’, says mum after cannabis oil confiscated
- Credit: GILES BRYANT
The mother of a severely epileptic Suffolk girl says her child is at risk of “becoming comatose” after her medical cannabis oils were seized at Stansted airport.
Five-year-old Indie-Rose Clarry, who has a form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, suffered severe seizures and panic attacks before she started taking the oils 14 months ago, according to mother-of-two Tannine Montgomery.
Ms Montgomery, 30, from Clare, near Sudbury, said she was stopped by Border Force officers on Friday after returning from the Netherlands, where she obtains the medicine using a private prescription written by her doctor.
She said: "Seizing this medicine is condemning my lovely daughter to becoming comatose, wracked by seizures and to be at high risk of an unnecessary death.
"For the love of God, this medicine is legal in the UK and I have a full lawful UK prescription for it."
She urged Health Secretary and Suffolk MP Matt Hancock to "sort this crisis out", as campaigners say just two NHS prescriptions have been issued for THC-bearing medical cannabis.
She said: "We know he has the report on his desk from the NHS setting out why the system for NHS prescriptions is blocked.
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"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."
Despite having a private UK prescription, Ms Montgomery says it is cheaper to travel to the Netherlands to stock up on the oils, which contain the psychoactive ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Although it is illegal to import the medicines without a special licence, Ms Mongtomery said officials have in the past let 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 at the moment," she said.
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced in 2018 that doctors are able to prescribe medicinal cannabis products, including for severe epilepsy.
However, parents have found they cannot easily access the medicines without paying thousands for an import licence, while many doctors will not prescribe them, citing a lack of official guidance.