Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Nationals MLC Trevor Khan have welcomed the NSW government and the Commonwealth’s steps to improve access to medicinal cannabis by introducing a single application process.
Mr Anderson said the plan, announced today by Health Minister Brad Hazzard and his federal counterpart Greg Hunt, will start in a few 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),” he said.
“This is a great outcome for the many people in our community who have recognized the difficulties and hurdles in the application process.
“It was widely recognized that the access scheme was difficult to negotiate, and the approval process was taking too long. As a result local GP’s were reluctant to engage.
“Recently, Trevor Khan and I met with the NSW Chief Scientist and NSW Health to discuss this issue and the need for change. I especially want to thank Lucy Haslam for her tireless advocacy and unstinting support for a better process.”
Mr Khan said he was delighted the NSW government had taken up the urgings of members such as himself to cut red-tape.
“We argued strongly that we needed compassion and care for patients, while at the same time we needed to help doctors get more confidence in prescribing medicinal cannabis by running important clinical trials which gives them the evidence they need.
Today, we have taken huge steps to better help people with a streamlined application process that meant doctors wanting to prescribe unregistered cannabis medicines would typically get approval within 36 hours,” Mr Khan said.
Mr Hazzard said NSW was committed to supporting doctors wanting to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
“A single approval process enables a focus on the world-leading clinical trials under the NSW Government’s $21 million invested into 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 Hazzard concluded.