CHILDREN GIVEN COMPASSIONATE ACCESS TO CANNABIS-BASED MEDICINE

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the Premier’s announcement today that children in NSW with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy, in an Australian first, will be provided with compassionate access to Epidiolex®, a GW Pharmaceuticals cannabis-based medicine.

Mr Marshall said that Epidiolex was an oral pharmaceutical formulation of pure cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

“Epidiolex will allow some of our most vulnerable children to use a cannabis-based medicine under medical supervision,” he said.

“I wholeheartedly supported the clinical trial of medical cannabis so that we could better understand what role it can play in alleviating symptoms in some seriously ill patients.

“I want to emphasise that the recreational use of drugs is illegal and dangerous.

“It will continue to be treated as such by the NSW Police, as it should be, however in this instance, we are talking about symptom relief for children suffering with severe treatment–resistant epilepsy.”

The state government recognises the potential of cannabis-based medicines, particularly for people who have exhausted conventional treatment options.

“The government have embarked on an ambitious research program to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for patients suffering from a range of debilitating conditions,” he said.

Specialist paediatric neurologists who practice in NSW public hospitals have been authorised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to prescribe Epidiolex. Clinicians, who will monitor the children receiving the medicine, will contact eligible families in the coming weeks with further details.

“The Compassionate Access Scheme forms part of the agreement between the NSW Government and GW Pharmaceuticals to explore the use of cannabinoid medicines for children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy,” Mr Marshall said.

“The agreement also provides for access to other cannabinoid medicine through clinical trials.”

For more information about the NSW Government’s commitment to exploring the possible therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis, please visit the website at www.health.nsw.gov.au/cannabis or call 1800 217 257.

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