The first two commercial shipments of medicinal cannabis products to be legally imported to Australia have arrived in Melbourne and Perth
“Children suffering from epilepsy and patients dealing with side effects caused by cancer treatment are most likely to benefit from these products if a doctor believes a patient has a medical need and has approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” says Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“These shipments are the first under our policy to allow controlled importation of medicinal cannabis for approved patients.
“We are making it easier to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while still maintaining strict safeguards for individual and community safety.”
The shipments, both from Canada, will be held by Pharmaceutical Packaging Professionals in Victoria and Health House International in Western Australia.
Since the policy was introduced in February, 30 permits have been granted to import medicinal cannabis products from Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
More shipments are expected to arrive in Australia throughout May.
Creso Pharma and West Australian medicinal cannabis wholesaler Health House has received an importation of three types of cannabis oils from Canadian cannabis group CanniMed.
“This first successful import of medicinal cannabis products is a ground-breaking moment for patients and the medical industry in Australia,” says David Russell, Chief Operating Officer of Creso Pharma.
“The Australian market has been catching up with community expectations while the regulatory framework around medicinal cannabis was being developed.
“Now these products will allow patients to have the option of medicinal cannabis treatments if it is prescribed by their physician. This is particularly important given the unmet but often immediate need to access a timely medicinal cannabis supply across Australia.”
Health House International was granted one of the first import licences on February 24th, soon after Mr Hunt gave the green light to fast-track the importation of medicinal cannabis treatments, while local cultivation processes catch up.
“We’re excited to be playing a key part in the Australian government’s efforts to improve access to medicinal cannabis around Australia,” says Paul Mavor, Director of Health House International.
“Being able to supply Australians with some of the world’s best medicinal cannabis oils is a tremendous achievement not just for us, but for the local market.
“This legislation and these products will make it far easier for patients to access the products they need when they are prescribed by a doctor.”
Medical cannabis research and production provider Tilray has also announced it has completed its first import of medical cannabis products into Australia.
“We commend the Australian government on its recent steps to legalize and regulate medical cannabis as well as to ensure patient access,” says its president, Brendan Kennedy.
Tilray has partnered with the University of Sydney and New South Wales Government to study medical cannabis as a treatment for symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
To be prescribed medicinal cannabis products, patients must see a physician who is an authorised prescriber, or apply for SAS Category B prescription under the Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations.