Senate inquiry into current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia
Deadline 17 January!
Terms of Reference
The current barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia, including:
(a) the appropriateness of the current regulatory regime through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme (SAS), Authorised Prescriber Scheme and clinical trials;
(b) the suitability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for subsidising patient access to medicinal cannabis products;
(c) the interaction between state and territory authorities and the Commonwealth, including overlap and variation between state and territory schemes;
(d) Australia’s regulatory regime in comparison to international best practice models for medicinal cannabis regulation and patient access;
(e) the availability of training for doctors in the current TGA regulatory regime for prescribing medicinal cannabis to their patients;
(f) the education of doctors in the Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS), and the appropriateness of medicinal cannabis treatments for various indications;
(g) sources of information for doctors about uses of medicinal cannabis and how these might be improved and widened;
(h) delays in access, and the practice of product substitution, due to importation of medicinal cannabis and the shortage of Australian manufactured medicinal cannabis products;
(i) the current status of the domestic regulated medicinal cannabis industry;
(j) the impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of those patients struggling to access medicinal cannabis through Australia’s regulatory regime;
(k) the particular barriers for those in rural and remote areas in accessing medicinal cannabis legally;
(l) the significant financial barriers to accessing medicinal cannabis treatment;
(m) the number of Australian patients continuing to rely on unregulated supply of medicinal cannabis due to access barriers and the impacts associated with that; and
(n) any related matters.
From Lucy Haslam, Founder & Director, United in Compassion [UIC]
I would like to encourage The Hemp Embassy and your networks to consider writing a submission to the Senate Inquiry into barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia. This inquiry is the chance for organisations and for all individual medical cannabis users to have input into the failures of the current regulatory framework. The submission date closes on the 17th January 2020.
I’m sure that every day you hear from people who are unable to find a doctor willing to prescribe, who have problems fitting within the guidelines or conditions approved by government, who have difficulty navigating the system, who cannot get access to a product that suits their condition or cannot afford the products (usually imports) available via the Special Access Scheme. Many endure the burden of additional costs associated with gaining a legal prescription from a doctor and also the additional costs from the dispensary. Very importantly, the plight of medical cannabis users who are forced into criminalisation for merely trying to manage painful conditions and illness needs to be highlighted, not to mention those who are prosecuted for growing or procuring cannabis for personal medical use. These are the people the inquiry needs to hear from.
The submission need not be an arduous task….just really an opportunity for people to present in writing their lived experiences and for the inquiry to try and inform Government of the appropriate solutions.
It is worth noting that we had to fight to get this Inquiry and that the Government opposed it. In September I took a delegation to Canberra to make the case for such an inquiry. UIC was accompanied by the CWA, Chronic Pain Australia, The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Epilepsy Action Australia and also a patient and legal representatives. We won the support of several minor parties, opposition and independent MPs who we were able to convince that Australians are not getting the benefit of the legislation that was supposed to make legal medicinal cannabis available to them.
This is an important opportunity…. we need to demonstrate that we are basing our concerns on the experiences of many medical cannabis users. We can only do this by presenting these experiences to the committee for consideration. The submission information portal is here.
Founder & Director
United in Compassion [UIC]
UIC is a Registered Charity