By Emily Ledger
A recent report has claimed that almost 2,000 patients in Australia have been prescribed by an Australian medical Cannabis company, so far this year. Australia legalised medical Cannabis in 2016 through the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016.
Althea, a Melbourne-based Cannabis company has claimed that its products have been prescribed to 1,925 people suffering from various ailments. The majority of these patients are said to suffer from Chronic Pain. This includes pain caused by Cancer.
Other common disorders for which the use of medical Cannabis has been approved are sleep disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and anxiety. Experts predict that this number could more than double by the end of the year.
Chief Executive of Althea, Josh Fagan, says:
“We think Australia has the potential to have 250,000 eligible patients in three to four years, even with the difficult regulatory framework we work in.”
Under Australia’s current legal framework, patients must apply for a medical Cannabis prescription through an authorised prescriptor, or submit each prescription to the government for approval.
The Department of Health’ Therapeutic Goods Administration has claimed that many more applications have been approved. The administration claims to have approved over 14,000 applications by the end of August. However, it is unknown whether all of these applications were filled.
Patients are currently required to attend a consultation with a specialist to determine whether they are eligible for a prescription. They may then pay around $300AU for around a month’s supply of the medication.
Althea’s medical Cannabis comes in five different forms, four of which are oils at different concentration levels. The fifth product is Cannabis flower. Although Cannabis in this form is rarely prescribed, it is ideal for those in palliative care who may lose their ability to swallow.
Althea is currently thought to dominate around 30-40% of the Australian medical Cannabis market. The Cannabis company has also recently entered the UK market.
Legal framework around medical Cannabis has been in place in the country since 2016. However, the law may vary from state to state.