And a leading Australian pharmacist has been appointed to the expert panel

The Health Department has announced the establishment of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, which will provide “expert advice” to the government.

Professor James Angus AO, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, has agreed to Chair the Advisory Council.

Professor Anne Tonkin, who is the Chair of the South Australian Medication Advisory Committee and a member of the Medical Board of Australia, will be Deputy Chair.

And pharmacist Michelle Lynch, who is the national vice-president of the PSA, has been appointed to the council as a representative of the pharmacy profession.

The Council’s expert members will be expected to provide specialist, balanced and timely advice to the Government on:

  • the ongoing implementation of the regulatory scheme allowing for the licenced cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis here in Australia;
  • the design of medical prescribing guidelines and the use of the Authorised Prescriber and Special Access Scheme mechanisms allowing for patient access; and
  • the current state of medical evidence supporting the use of medicinal cannabis for a variety of clinical conditions.

“Many Australians may not realise that patients can already access medicinal cannabis and its products from overseas via an Authorised Prescriber (doctor) or through the Special Access Scheme B process,” explains Health Minister Greg Hunt in a statement.

“The Government’s medicinal cannabis scheme allows for the safe cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products that will be safe to use and have standardised dosing,” says Mr Hunt.

“It will bring the use of medicinal cannabis products under standard medical care where dose responses and adverse events can be properly monitored and responded to – just as happens with other medications.

“I look forward to working with the Council so Australians can have confidence in the medicinal use of cannabis and help relieve the pain and suffering of our fellow Australians,” he says.

The full council members list is as follows:

Name

Organisation

Role

Professor James Angus

Chair of Victorian Independent Medical Advisory Committee on Medicinal Cannabis

Chair

Emiritus Professor Anne Tonkin

Chair of South Australian Medication Advisory Committee

Deputy Chair

Ms Liz Callaghan

Palliative Care Australia

Patient group

Professor Richard Chye

St Vincent’s Hospital

Palliative care and pain

Dr Ian Freckelton QC

University of Melbourne

Law / former member of the 2015 Victorian Law Reform Commission Review

Professor Wayne Hall

University of Queensland

Toxicology (drugs) / Also advising the Queensland Government

Dr Chris Hayes

Faculty of Pain Medicine – Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists

Pain specialist

Ms Carol Ireland

Epilepsy Action Australia

Patient group

Professor Jennifer Martin

University of Newcastle

Pharmacology

Ms Michelle Lynch

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Pharmacy profession representative

Ms Ria Pryce

Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation

NSW Government nominee

Dr Morton Rawlin

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Medical profession representative

Dr Simon Walsh

Australian Federal Police

Chief Scientist

Dr Phil Wright

NSW Department of Primary Industry

Chief Scientist / cultivation

Professor Helen Zorbas

Cancer Australia

Patient group