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Kids with severe epilepsy first to access medicinal cannabis in VIC

26 April, 2016

Hundreds of kids with severe epilepsy will have access to medicinal cannabis as early as next year, with new fast-tracked funding to support the roll-out of the Victorian Medicinal Cannabis Access scheme.

The $28.5 million package, provided in the 2016/17 Victorian Budget, will support the establishment of the Office of Medicinal Cannabis and an Independent Medical Advisory Committee to make sure seriously ill kids can access this life-changing treatment as soon as possible.

The funding will also support:

  • The Government’s cultivation trial, which is now underway, as well as the regulation of medicinal cannabis, further product development and the development of clinical, public and manufacturing guidance material
  • Research grants to make sure we are continuing to build the evidence base for medicinal cannabis
  • The establishment of a hardship fund to help make medicinal cannabis more affordable for parents doing it tough

Recently, Victoria became the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for those in exceptional circumstances. For too long, parents have had to choose between breaking the law and helping their child.

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis will be responsible for all clinical and manufacturing aspects of the medicinal cannabis framework, and will work closely with medical specialists, general practitioners and pharmacists to help them understand their role in prescribing medicinal cannabis.

The Office will also work with patients and families to provide them with information about medicinal cannabis, as well as eligibility requirements and registration for the scheme.

The Independent Medical Advisory Committee will provide advice to the Government on the types of medicinal cannabis products that should be available to Victorian patients, and the expansion of patient eligibility to include other cohorts. Patients and their families will be consulted as part of this process.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

We promised families that their children would be able to access this life-changing treatment as early as next year, and we’re getting it done.”

“Never again will families have to make the heart-breaking choice between watching their children suffer and breaking the law.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We have seen time and time again the difference that medicinal cannabis can make to the lives of very sick children.”

“Many families who care for a sick child are doing it tough and the hardship fund will help ensure patients are not disadvantaged because of their income.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“Our cannabis cultivation trial will be the first of its kind in Australia and once again Victoria is leading the way.”

“This will deliver life-changing treatment to those who really need it most.” 

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