Home Office: Coronavirus

(asked on 22nd April 2020) - View Source

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many officials in the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit in her Department have been seconded to work on the response to covid-19; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by
Kit Malthouse Portrait
Kit Malthouse
This question was answered on 29th April 2020

All applications are considered individually on their merits and with regards to our obligation under International Conventions and Domestic law. Applications for importation of Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal Use in Humans (CBPMs) are already expedited, where documentation and regulatory approval is provided, in recognition of the need to ensure continuity of the supply of unlicensed medicines.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency guidance- “The supply, manufacture, importation and distribution of unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans specials” - was updated in March 2020 to enable pharmaceutical wholesalers to move from a system where they can only apply to import the quantity specified on a prescription, to a system that allows the import of CBPMs in anticipation of prescriptions.

Licensed wholesalers could hold supplies of products to be drawn on when in receipt of a prescription from a specialist doctor on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register. The Drug & Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU) continues to expedite applications made in response to this updated guidance, where all relevant documentation and regulatory returns have been made by the wholesalers.

No officials have been seconded from the Drug and Firearms Licensing Unit. Since 25 March 2020, it has delivered its regulatory functions remotely, issuing a total of 1,699 controlled drug import-export licences.

It is presently operating a next day turnaround for applications where all required information has been submitted with the application.

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