APP2016 session to explore medicinal cannabis issues


Ahead of the Victorian Government’s recent announcement, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has already confirmed a session at APP2016 exploring medicinal cannabis in the treatment of specific epilepsy disorders and key issues for the pharmacist dispensing the medication.

The very sad cases of children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy, who had achieved some degree of reduced seizures with medicinal cannabis, led to Queensland, NSW and Victorian governments announcing clinical trials on medicinal cannabis, says the Guild.

Neurologist Dr Dan McLaughlin’s session, on 18 March 2016, will focus on ‘medicinal cannabis trials and its use in specific epilepsy disorders’.

Dr McLaughlin specialises in the treatment of seizure disorders and has a particular interest in the pharmacology of anti-epilepsy drugs.

He has more than 20 years’ experience as a clinical investigator in a number of trials assessing the newer anti-epileptic drugs and has been an active member of the Epilepsy Society, currently serving as President.

Kos Sclavos, Board Member of Epilepsy Queensland and Vice President of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, says he believes this session is a must attend for all pharmacists.

“Given Dr McLaughlin’s experience and expertise, this session will provide APP2016 delegates with a deeper understanding of the use of medicinal cannabis,” Sclavos says.

Sclavos has been involved with a number of delegations to Health Ministers, Premiers and Health Departments encouraging medicinal cannabis trials.

“The need for these trials is critical for a number of reasons, including lack of regulation for its current use, and poor quality control in the manufacture of cannabis oil via illegal operations,” he says.

“One of the key issues is that parents of children, who have severe drug-resistant epilepsy, are often not consulting health professionals on the use of medicinal cannabis.

“Since the announcement of clinical trials, Epilepsy Queensland and other support agencies have been inundated with calls on the issue.

“Pharmacists should be in a position where they can advise parents and, in my view, manage expectations.

“It is important to understand that medicinal cannabis is not a cure and only applies to specific forms of epilepsy.

Sclavos believes there will be a need for Commonwealth legislation and similar laws across all states by 2017.

“Even though the announcement was in Victoria, there is a link between trials in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland,” he says.

Dr McLaughlin’s session is sponsored by Epilepsy Queensland.

APP2016 will be held from 17-20 March at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. The conference will feature an exciting line-up of over 70 international and Australian speakers, covering topics from cutting edge industry issues and clinical updates to finance and business management.

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