“A VICTORY for common sense”.
hat was how medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey greeted confirmation this week that her family will no longer have to stump up almost €10,000 every three months for her daughter Ava’s potentially life-saving medication.
A phone call on Monday from Heath Minister Stephen Donnelly finally brought to an end Vera’s long-running campaign to have Ava’s Bedrocan medication funded at source by the Government – to her unbridled delight.
Since 2017, Ms Twomey, from Aghabullogue, has been using medical cannabis to control 11-year-old Ava’s seizures.
While the Government had agreed to fund the treatment, it had been prescribed under an individual licence and was not eligible to be funded at source.
This had meant that Vera and her husband, Paul, had to pay out €9,500 every three months for Ava’s medication, then wait for up to five weeks for it to be reimbursed – leaving a huge financial vacuum for the family in the meantime.
Last month, it emerged that Department of Health officials were making efforts to address the anomaly, which has also had repercussions for more than 50 other families in Ireland.
Speaking to The Corkman this week, Ms Twomey said that Minister Donnelly had informed her, in person, that Ava’s most recent supply of Bedrocan would be the last that the family would have to shell out for.
“It is such a relief for us. To be honest, we were coming under a lot of financial pressure and, as Ava’s treatment will only become more expensive in the future, Paul and I were concerned about whether we would be in a position to cover other costs such as college for our other children,” said Ms Twomey.
“Put simply, this is a victory for common sense over bureaucracy,” she added.
Ms Twomey was full of praise for Minister Donnelly, whom she said was the most progressive Minister for Health, in terms of medicinal cannabis, that she had dealt with.
“Huge credit is due to Stephen for listening to what we had to say, taking it on board and not just paying lip service to us,” she said.
“He is to be commended for taking action to address this situation, not just for us but all of the families in Ireland that were adversely impacted by the previous system,” said Ms Twomey.
“It means that a huge financial burden has been removed from our shoulders, and we can plan for the future without the worry of having to find the money for Ava’s medication,” she added.