Patient access to medical cannabis in Western Australia set to improve
We wrote recently about how empowering GP prescribers in QLD is partly responsible for the disproportionate levels of SAS-B approvals in that State. And how NSW would be the next to follow suit, having made similar changes to their State approval system.
Well yesterday, WA not only started allowing GPs to request SAS-B approvals without condition-specialist endorsement. Doctors will still be required to seek specialist approval when prescribing for children under the age of 16 and for patients who are drug dependent or have a history of drug use.
There is some outstanding confusion around what’s going to happen with WA’s clinical assessment panel. Currently all applications must receive both Federal and State panel approval, regardless of specialist endorsement. Formal advice FreshLeaf has received from WA Health states that this will not change and the panel will be retained. But the WA Health Minister has gone on record saying that the panel will be scrapped. This is especially relevant for Authorised Prescribers (APs), who currently don’t need Federal per-patient approval. If the panel were to be scrapped, this would remove any requirement for APs to get per-patient approvals.
WA patient numbers expected to grow
What’s the upside here? Well after the East Coast States, WA is already the strongest performer in terms of SAS-B approvals. This new change will continue to accelerate patient access in the State. And in terms of who’s left behind, the only States/Territories to formally require specialist endorsement in some part of the access process are South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. So keep an eye out for future changes in those jurisdictions.
Overall this move reflects the gradual but consistent relaxing and streamlining of regulations that is happening in Australia at the federal and state level. As the market continues to open up we reiterate our forecast of 28,000 approvals being issued this year in Australia and the market closing the year with over 10,000 active patients.
FreshLeaf Analytics, a division of Southern Cannabis Holdings, is the leading supplier of data about the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia. We have access to medicinal cannabis product, pricing and clinical data sets from some of Australia’s leading healthcare companies and organizations including healthcare clinics, pharmacies, product suppliers and the TGA. The FreshLeaf Analytics team provides custom research, analysis and consulting services in the Medicinal Cannabis market in Australia. The FreshLeaf Analytics team can be contacted on +61 2 8203 8741 or firstname.lastname@example.org