2240. Hon Alison Xamon to the parliamentary secretary representing the Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health:
I refer to page 269 in the 2019–20 State Budget, delivering on government priorities and election commitments, paragraph 5, prescribing medicinal cannabis, and I ask:
(a) what has the Government done in this regard; and
(b) has this seen a corresponding uptake in numbers of people being able to access prescribed medicinal cannabis as appropriate?
Hon Alanna Clohesy replied:
I am advised:
(a) Prescribing of medicinal cannabis is fully implemented in Western Australia (WA).
Medicinal cannabis is regulated in the same manner as other prescription medicines. All medical practitioners in WA are eligible to prescribe medicinal cannabis products and patients can have their prescription dispensed at any pharmacy.
Prescribing is only one aspect of making medicinal cannabis available to Western Australians. The regulatory scheme administered by WA Health has resulted in:
patients being able to access medicinal cannabis, including some children being treated for intractable epilepsy through the Perth Children’s Hospital;
clinical trials involving medicinal cannabis commencing in WA;
cultivation of cannabis for use in medicines in WA as well as the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products; and
licensed medicinal cannabis wholesalers being located in WA, who supply across Australia.
WA Health has also worked with the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to:
develop comprehensive guideline documents which detail the scientific knowledge about the use of medicinal cannabis for a number of health conditions (available at: https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents); and
facilitate a streamlined application process for prescribing authorisation, where doctors submit a single application to obtain both TGA and WA Health authorisation to prescribe, allowing applications to be finalised in two working days.
The first prescribing authorisation for medicinal cannabis was issued by WA Health in May 2017, and since then the number of patients being prescribed medicinal cannabis has steadily increased. The total number of authorisations issued (to end of June 2019), is 680.
During the first six months of 2019, the average number of authorisations per month was 66, with a high of 86 authorisations in May 2019.