HSE confirms it will cover the cost of Ava's medicine

April 20th, 2018 11:50 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The HSE will now fund Ava Barry's cannabis-based medicine, her mother Vera, above, was told last week. (Photo: John Delea)

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CAMPAIGNING mum Vera Twomey has spoken of her delight after the HSE confirmed it will re-imburse the cost of medicinal cannabis she gets in Holland for her eight-year-old daughter Ava Barry.

Ava suffers from a rare form of epilepsy which resulted in her having several seizures a day before getting treatment last year in Holland. 

Since being granted a special licence to import medicinal cannabis last December by Health Minister Simon Harris, Vera and her husband Paul, who live in Aghabullogue, travel to Holland every three months to buy the cannabis oil treatments, which can cost between €4,000 and €5,000.

Until last Friday, the HSE had refused to fund Ava’s medicine under the Long Term Illness scheme.

‘People may have presumed that everything was sorted after we obtained a special licence to import the medicinal cannabis, but it wasn’t. It was a difficult thing to do as we hadn’t expected to be out there campaigning again,’ Vera told The Southern Star.

‘We got a call on Friday from the HSE to confirm that they will re-imburse the medicine and then we got a written confirmation that evening. We’re absolutely thrilled with this news, and we have this is writing now.’

She added: ‘We are just waiting on the HSE to contact us now about the finer details. We just want to get the process going. Ava is doing great and she’s in school and hasn’t had any seizures since taking the cannabis oil treatments.

‘The HSE has suggested that Ava use another product which was covered under the Long Term Illness scheme but our neurologists both here in Ireland and in Holland were opposed to Ava changing her medicine, and said it was an unnecessary risk,’ added Vera.

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