The Ministry of Health and Wellness has made it clear that the decision that medical marijuana products should be authorized for use in Barbados was based on the best available scientific evidence from clinical studies.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic, announced last Tuesday that five medicinal marijuana drugs had been approved for importation by the Barbados Drug Service on the recommendation of the Barbados National Drug Formulary Committee.
Responding this week 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®.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Anton Best, further explained that the clinical indications for the use of medical marijuana were chronic pain, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, severe nausea and loss of appetite.
He emphasized 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 healthcare providers who will be involved in prescribing or administering any of the five approved drugs to those patients in need.
The workshops, which are targeting pharmacists, physicians and nurses in both the public and private healthcare sectors, started this week.