12/11/2019 - 09:51

Rules eased for medicinal cannabis in WA

12/11/2019 - 09:51

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The Western Australian government is making it easier for people to access medicinal cannabis.

Rules eased for medicinal cannabis in WA

The Western Australian government is making it easier for people to access medicinal cannabis.

The government will allow GPs to prescribe the medication without the need for a referral to a specialist, bringing WA into line with New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

Doctors will still be required to seek specialist approval when prescribing for children under the age of 16 and for patients who are drug dependent or have a history of drug use.

Health Minister Roger Cook said medicinal cannabis is often prescribed as a last resort for people who are suffering from pain.

"This announcement underpins the government's commitment to putting patients first," Mr Cook said.

“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.”

Also commenting on the changes was managing director of medicinal cannabis company Little Green Pharma, Fleta Solomon.

“As a proud Western Australian company, with the only growing and manufacturing facilities in the state, we applaud the Health Minister for implementing this streamlined policy and are confident it will make a huge difference to Western Australian patients, who have previously been disadvantaged by the states time consuming and costly access process," Ms Solomon said.

The change comes after a Department of Health review of three years of prescribing data, collated since the Commonwealth first introduced legislative changes to allow the manufacture of medical cannabis products.

From November 2016 until August 2019, there were 876 approvals to prescribe medicinal cannabis in the state.

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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