FOI 25549



Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

The NHSBSA's responses to Freedom of Information requests. read more


Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 25549


‘Dear NHSBSA, I would like to request a breakdown of the total number of licenced cannabis-based medical products (CBMPs) dispensed from 2018 - 2022.

If possible, please may this information be broken into: i) products dispensed (eg Sativex & Epidyolex); and ii)Prescribing from NHS and Private sources.

Where possible, please may the cost of products dispensed also be supplied.

Thank you very much in advance.’


NHS Licenced Dispensing

Under section 21 of the Act, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you. The information you requested is available from the “PCA Monthly Drug Data” at the following web link:

You will need to view all the rows containing product of interest to you by searching (press “Ctrl” and “F” keys together) Column D. You can then calculate the totals you require from this information.

Please be mindful of the notes provided at the above link, regarding changes to reporting methodology. This is particularly important when running comparisons across time periods where the methodology changed.

The above provides the legacy PCA data. Please visit the below web link to our Open Data Portal (ODP) which provides data for January 2021 onwards.

Private Dispensing

Fewer Than 5 Items

Please be aware that I have decided not to release the practice details where the total number of items falls below 5. This is because the patients could be identified, when combined with other information that may be in the public domain or reasonably available. An “*” should be interpreted as 'between 1 and 4'.

This information falls under the exemption in section 40 subsections 2 and 3A (a) of the Freedom of Information Act.

This is because it would breach the first data protection principle as: a) it is not fair to disclose patients personal details to the world and is likely to cause damage or distress. b) these details are not of sufficient interest to the public to warrant an intrusion into the privacy of the patients.

Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.

Breach of Patient confidentiality

Please note that the identification of patients is also a breach of the common law duty of confidence. A patient who has been identified could make a claim against the NHSBSA or yourself for the disclosure of the confidential information.

The information requested is therefore being withheld as it falls under the exemption in section 41(1) ‘Information provided in confidence’ of the Freedom of Information Act.

Please click the below web link to see the exemption in full.

Cost of Private Prescriptions

Please note that we do not hold the cost of private drugs dispensed in the community. The NHSBSA does not re-imburse contractors for private prescriptions. Privately prescribed items are submitted to the NHSBSA for reporting and monitoring purposes only.

Remaining data

A copy of the information is attached. Please read the below notes to ensure correct understanding of the data.

NHS Prescription Services process prescriptions for Pharmacy Contractors, Appliance Contractors, Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration with information then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors in England for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings (other arrangements are in place for making payments to Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration). This involves processing over 1 billion prescription items and payments totalling over £9 billion each year. The information gathered from this process is then used to provide information on costs and trends in prescribing in England and Wales to over 25,000 registered NHS and Department of Health and Social Care users.

Data Source

ePACT2 - Data in ePACT2 is sourced from the NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse and is derived from products prescribed on prescriptions and dispensed in the Community. The data captured from prescription processing is used to calculate reimbursement and remuneration. It includes items prescribed in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey and Isle of Man which have been dispensed in the community in England. English prescribing that has been dispensed in Wales, Scotland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey and Isle of Man is also included.


• Items not dispensed, disallowed and those returned to the contractor for further clarification.

• Prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in Prisons, Hospitals and Private prescriptions.

• Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser.

This dataset

Shows total items for Private prescriptions for BNF chemical substances of Nabilone (BNF 0406000R0), Cannabidiol (BNF 0408010AM) and Dronabinol/cannabidiol (BNF 1002020Y0). Currently private prescriptions are only required to be submitted to the NHSBSA for schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs for monitoring purposes. Therefore, there is no payment made by the NHSBSA. Sativex is a schedule 4 controlled drug, therefore not all private prescriptions for Sativex may have been submitted to the NHSBSA for monitoring. Cannabidiol (Epidyolex) was a schedule 2 controlled drug up to the 24th of June 2020 and then moved to a schedule 5 so not all private prescriptions for Epidyolex may have been submitted to the NHSBSA for monitoring from the 24th of June onwards.

Time Period

November 2018 to April 2022 (accumulated)

Organisation Data

The data is for items prescribed in England and dispensed in the community in England.


Shows the number of times a product appears on a prescription form not the quantity prescribed.

Data Queries

If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data please contact ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

If you plan on producing a press or broadcast story based upon the data please contact This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “NHSBSA Copyright 2022” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:

Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.

Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Information Governance
Version 1.0
State active
Last Updated July 20, 2022, 17:30 (UTC)
Created July 20, 2022, 17:23 (UTC)