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NSW children provided compassionate access to cannabis-based medicine

12 July, 2016

In an Australian first, NSW children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy will be provided with compassionate access to Epidiolex® , a GW Pharmaceuticals cannabis-based medicine.

Epidiolex is an oral pharmaceutical formulation of pure cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward met with clinicians, who will be prescribing Epidiolex, at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick today.

"We will be able to deliver access to Epidiolex to allow some of our most vulnerable children to use a cannabis-based medicine under medical supervision," Baird said.

"Parents have told us they do not want to play pharmacist – they want nothing but the best for their children and we are driven by this same purpose."

Goward said the NSW Government recognises the potential of cannabis-based medicines, particularly for people who have exhausted conventional treatment options.

"We have embarked on an ambitious research program to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for patients suffering from a range of debilitating conditions," Goward 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. The agreement also provides for access to other cannabinoid medicine through clinical trials.

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

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