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Medicinal Cannabis – patient access in South Australia

Friday, 12 May 2017

SA Health is committed to ensuring South Australians have access to the optimal range of safe and effective treatments and services to promote the best health outcomes for patients and the community.

SA Health recently undertook public and targeted consultation about patient access to medicinal cannabis in South Australia (PDF 149KB) . This took into account the national legislative framework established by the Commonwealth to facilitate appropriate patient access to certain medicinal cannabis products for medical conditions where there is evidence to support its use.

Following the consultation a patient access pathway for medicinal cannabis has been developed which is aligned with the existing legislated requirements for Schedule 8 medicines (noting one medicinal cannabis derivative, cannabidiol, is a Schedule 4 product and can be prescribed as such).Under the pathway, patients in South Australia can be supplied medicinal cannabis products prescribed by their medical specialist and dispensed by a pharmacist.

A section 18A authority from the Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU) is only required for treatment longer than 2 months, or before commencing treatment where the person is already prescribed a Schedule 8 drug (for a period exceeding 2 months) and for any person the medical practitioner reasonably believes to be dependent on drugs.

Medical practitioners should contact the DDU on 1300 652 584 to discuss the specific authority requirements or e-mail HealthDrugsofDependenceUnit@sa.gov.au

Until medicinal cannabis products are registered medicines in Australia, Commonwealth approval is also necessary via the TGA;

Detailed information about the SA Health patient access pathway, the approval process, product information, evidence base and FAQs is available on the SA Health website at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/medicinalcannabis

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