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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Cutting red tape in WA for medicinal cannabis access

Health Industry Hub | November 19, 2019 |

WA Health Minister Roger Cook announced that GPs will now be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis via TGA special access approval and that specialist prescriptions are no longer required for the majority of people seeking medicinal cannabis.

The change brings Western Australia closer into line with other Australian jurisdictions including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria,
which do not currently require specialist support medicinal cannabis approvals from the TGA.

“Whilst the listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the responsibility of the Federal Government, it is important for the Commonwealth to have a flexible system that expedites affordable access to new and emerging healthcare treatments.” said WA Health Minister Roger Cook.

Dr Sanjay Nijhawan, medical director at Cannabis Access Clinics, an SCH company commented “This is a step in the right direction for patients in Western Australia, many of whom could benefit from medicinal cannabis based treatments under the guidelines released by the TGA”.

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Andrew Glover, General Manager at Cannabis Access Clinics added “We congratulate Minister Cook for taking steps towards a more streamlined approach for medicinal cannabis access. We expect costs and timelines to come down as a result and more patients in WA will be able try this treatment option as a result”.

Cannabis Access Clinics, which offers bulk billing consults for eligible patients in WA expects patient numbers  to rise significantly with this announcement.

From November 2016 until August 2019 there were 876 approvals to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Western Australia.

Medicinal cannabis products are not approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or funded by the federally controlled Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. They remain classified as controlled drugs throughout Australia.

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