THE UK’s first charity designed to support patients seeking medical cannabis has been approved by the regulator.
The London-based Sapphire Medical Foundation told BusinessCann it has ‘great ambitions’ to support patients unable to secure access through the poorly-functioning NHS prescribing regime.
This follows the Charity Commission’s approval of the Foundation which will deliver medicines through its partner organisation the Harley Street-based Sapphire Medical Clinics.
Dr Simon Erridge, Co-Founder and Trustee of Sapphire Medical Foundation, said: “There is no limit to patients that we would be looking to help, so long as we do so in a sustainable manner that protects the financial security of the charity long-term.
Initial Patient Support For One Year
“Our ambition is as great as possible whilst we are also realistic and recognise there are limits to our potential ambitions compared with large, established charities in both the medical and social care field.”
Once a patient is taken on to the Foundation programme the charity will support patient prescription costs for a minimum of one year and then allow the incumbent to re-apply for funding alongside other applicants.
Dr Erridge said fund-raising efforts are under way but had been hampered by the global pandemic. He said: “We have initially intended to do lots of fundraising through traditional means such as athletic challenges, charity evenings, individual fundraising challenges.
“However, during Covid-19 that has understandably been more difficult than we had hoped. Whilst we have continued to do this to a large extent we are increasingly reliant on individual donations.”
Current System Is Morally Wrong
The charity’s trustees include long-standing cannabis advocate Baroness Molly Meacher as Chair, and England Rugby Union international George Kruis, co-founder of FourFive CBD.
Basia Zieniewicz, Founding Director of cannabis advocacy Cpass, Tristan Gervais of Head of Cannabis Advisory at Verdite Capital Partners, and Dr Erridge and Dr Michael Platt, the Medical Director of Sapphire Medical Clinics, make up the Trustees.
Baroness Meacher said: “The Sapphire Medical Foundation aims to enable patients with limited funds to gain access to cannabis medicines when they need them.
“At present only about 10 prescriptions for cannabis medicines have been written within the NHS. As a result, patients need funds – hundreds of pounds per month or more in some cases, to access these legally recognised medicines. This is morally wrong.”
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Donations can be made via https://www.sapphirefoundation.co.uk/donations/make-a-donation/