Kent

Kent girl Teagan Appleby may have medicinal cannabis returned

Emma Appleby with her daughter Teagan in the Netherlands
Image caption Emma Appleby with her daughter Teagan in the Netherlands

A woman caught trying to bring medical cannabis into the UK to treat her daughter, who has severe epilepsy, may get the drugs back from the Border Force, the health secretary has said.

Emma Appleby, from Aylesham, Kent, wept as the £4,600 three-month dose of THC oil was seized on Saturday, when she reached Southend Airport with Teagan.

Matt Hancock told the Commons there was an "opportunity for a second opinion".

Mrs Appleby said: "I'm really hopeful, I'll be fighting to get it back."

She added: "I haven't been told anything yet, but it's only been a couple of days.

"If they say no, though, I'm not giving up."

Addressing the house on Monday, Mr Hancock confirmed the cannabis had not been destroyed - as seized drugs normally are.

Teagan has a rare chromosomal disorder called Isodicentric 15, as well as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which causes her to experience up to 300 seizures a day.

She was refused a prescription in the UK for cannabis oil, so Mrs Appleby used money raised through crowdfunding to visit a pharmacy in The Hague, Netherlands.

Image caption Mrs Appleby bought a three-month supply of THC from a Dutch pharmacy

Responding to an urgent question, Mr Hancock said without approval by a UK doctor "it is not possible to import controlled drugs".

"However we have made available the opportunity for a second opinion," he added.

Last year 12-year-old Billy Caldwell had his cannabis oil returned after it was seized from his mother.

The cabinet minister said since the law was updated in November making it legal to prescribe the medication, more than 80 children had been supplied with it.

He has asked NHS England to "rapidly initiate a process evaluation to address barriers to clinically appropriate prescribing".

MP for Hemel Hempstead Sir Mike Penning, who was granted the urgent question, welcomed the news, but added: "Sadly these people need these medicines now."

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