Barbados Defends Decision to Allow Importation of Marijuana-Based Prescription Drugs

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday May 27, 2019 – The Ministry of Health and Wellness is insisting that the decision that medical marijuana products be authorized for use in Barbados was based on the best available scientific evidence from clinical studies.

And it says the five medicinal marijuana drugs which will be imported will be used only when traditional medication fails to give any relief for chronic pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, severe nausea and loss of appetite.

It was last Tuesday that Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic announced that the drugs had been approved for importation by the Barbados Drug Service on the recommendation of the Barbados National Drug Formulary Committee.

Responding to concerns raised by some members of the public, the ministry issued a statement reiterating its position that the smoking of marijuana would not be part of the process since there was no scientifically proven medical benefit.

The drugs to be imported, it explained, were all approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They have been identified as nabiximols such as Sativex®, purified cannabidiol oral solution such as Eidiolex®, synthetic non-psychoactive cannabinoid, namely Anabasum®, synthetic cannabinoid capsules – Nabilone® and synthetic cannabinoid capsules, Marinol®.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best stressed that the drugs would be prescribed when other pharmaceutical products proved ineffective.    

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has partnered with The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus to conduct a series of workshops for pharmacists, physicians and nurses in both the public and private healthcare sectors, who will be involved in prescribing or administering any of the five approved drugs.

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