Pharmacist prescribes drug import

A LEADING pharmacist has jumped aboard the medical marijuana bandwagon, claiming he has found a way for supporters to navigate the “legal labyrinth” surrounding the drug.

Australian Custom Pharmaceuticals owner Daryll Knowles said, while previous pushes to legalise cannabis for the dying had stalled because of the “regulatory nightmare” around growing, importing and prescribing it, he had devised an iron-clad way of getting it from the farm to the pharmacy.

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, who will table a private member’s bill next month to decriminalise the drug for the terminally ill, is leading a delegation of MPs to Tasmania to look at ways to manoeuvre the legal minefield.

But Mr Knowles claims the drug could simply be imported from Holland and administered in a similar manner to the current methadone program.

“There’s a model that already exists,” he said.

“My motivation is simply to help the Haslam family avoid having to break the law as the law rarely has a social conscience.”

Under the proposed model, a licensed pharmaceutical wholesaler would be given an import permit by the Therepeutic Goods Administration and be licensed to distribute to pharmacists.

The Australian Pharmacy Guild would train pharmacists about the rules and regulations around the drug and it would be left to GPs and specialists to prescribe it to patients.

Medicinal marijuana is so entrenched in Holland, horticulturalists have developed different strains to deal with different disease states.

“I believe medical cannabis does have a place in medicine and we’re lucky NSW is one of the more progressive states,” Mr Knowles said.

“But we need to get a supplier that doesn’t involve guys with beards in Nimbin so our politicians aren’t so scared.”

He said any medicinal marijuana should be given a scientific name based on its active ingredient so as to remove the stigma associated with the illegal drug.

Tamworth mum Lucy Haslam, whose son Dan has been the public face of the medical marijuana campaign, said she welcomed Mr Knowles’ foray into the debate.

“The issue of supply has always been the sticking point ... it’s the number one issue,” Mrs Haslam said.

“But if they can overcome it in other countries, then it can’t be rocket science.

“That’s what governments are for, aren’t they?”

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