European authorities approved the first cannabis-based medicine that was created to treat childhood epilepsy. In this way, the medicine is expected to be available both in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
This comes after GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) received the green light to operate by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission (EC).
According to GW Pharmaceuticals, the EMA and the EC approved Epidyolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. These severe conditions include the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and the Dravet syndrome. The drug can be used in patients aged two years and older.
It would now be possible to commercialize the medicine through Europe, considering there could be 50,000 children affected by this condition in the continent. In the United Kingdom, the number of young adults with one of the two syndromes reaches 10,000.
Chris Tovey, the COO of the company, explained they are discussing with the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for the NHS to make this drug available for those that need it.
He has also mentioned that 15,000 individuals in the United States have already been treated with this drug, which has already been approved to operate in the North American country. About the company’s experience in the U.S. Tovey mentioned the feedback has been very positive.
At the same time, Tovey remains optimistic Nice would fund Epidyolex on the NHS. Justin Gover, the Chief Executive of GW, explained that the approval of Epidyolex marks a significant milestone offering patients with the possibility to treat two severe and life-threatening forms of epilepsy.
By using Epidyolex, individuals reduced the frequency of seizures with LGS and Dravet syndrome. Some of the side effects include sleepiness, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and more.
Isabella Brambilla, the chair of the Dravet Syndrome European Federation, mentioned:
“We are very happy that patients will now have access to a much-needed new treatment option, and one routed through a rigorous clinical trials programme and licensed by the EMA.”
GW Pharmaceuticals’ shares have a price of $133.5. In the last 24 hours, they fell 1.88%.
With the approval the firm received, individuals in the EU will be able to have access to a cannabis-based solution that would help patients treat their epilepsy. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the NHS could eventually make the drug available for those that need it.