ANZSPM Media Release - 14 June 2017

ANZSPM criticises failure to consult on medicinal cannabis 

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) is calling for improved consultation with end-of-life care experts after yesterday's Senate decision on medicinal cannabis.

ANZSPM President, Dr Carol Douglas FAChPM, expressed concern that the decision will have ramifications for both patient and practitioner protections:

"We consider that the Therapeutic Goods Administration's continued oversight of the standard of medicinal cannabis preparations, including the quality and appropriate prescribing of the product supplied, is essential to protect the health of the Australian public.

"ANZSPM understands that advocacy groups have used the example of persons with life-limiting conditions to argue for SAS Category A access to medicinal cannabis. 

"As the specialty medical society for practitioners in palliative medicine, ANZSPM is concerned that the decision to pass the disallowance motion will create access pathways for unregistered medicinal cannabis products and will reduce oversight by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and clinicians in State and Territory Governments. That oversight provides key safeguards for both patients and practitioners."

Dr Douglas referred to ANZSPM's previous submission to the Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014, in which ANZSPM expressed the firm view that the use of medicinal cannabis should be evidence-based and regulated in the same way as other prescribed medications. She reiterated ANZSPM's support for the access process for medicinal cannabis under category B:

"This view has not changed. ANZSPM believes that the use of medicinal cannabis in the provision of palliative care should be guided by scientific evidence as with all established medical therapy and provided under close medical supervision. We consider the Therapeutic Goods Administration application process as a Special Access Scheme Category B, Authorised Prescriber, Clinical Trials or as a registered product is appropriate."

ANZSPM is a specialty medical society for medical practitioners who provide care for people with a life-limiting illness. ANZSPM facilitates professional development and support for its members, promotes the practice of evidence based palliative medicine and advocates for those who work in the field of palliative medicine.


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