The NSW Government has joined with the Commonwealth to improve access to medicinal cannabis by introducing a single application process. NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard and Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the new arrangement would start in the coming weeks.
Instead of both the Commonwealth and NSW Health overseeing the approvals, NSW will rely on a single clinical assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). “The NSW Government has listened to the community and to the members of the National and Liberal parties who have advocated in our party room for a more streamlined and compassionate approach,” Mr Hazzard said.
“A single approval process enables a focus on the world-leading clinical trials under the NSW Government’s $21 million invested into medicinal cannabis. “We are committed to supporting doctors wanting to prescribe medicinal cannabis.” The NSW Government opened the $6 million Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service in January, the first of its kind in Australia, to provide expert advice to doctors.
Mr Hunt said the streamlined application process meant that doctors wanting to prescribe unregistered cannabis medicines would typically get approval within 36 hours. “This approach by NSW to cut red tape and remove barriers is a template for other States to follow,” Mr Hunt said. “Strong safeguards remain in place to access medicinal cannabis but this move ends a duplication of regulatory requirements.
“It means NSW will have one of the quickest pipelines to appropriate medical access.” Currently, the only cannabis medicine on the TGA’s register is Sativex®, which also requires a NSW authority for doctors to prescribe it as with any other schedule 8 drug.