Medicinal cannabis medicines can be prescribed for patients as a result of federal legislative changes which came into effect in November 2016.
Many prescribers and health professionals know little about the clinical application of medicinal cannabis for a number of reasons, including the scarcity of contemporary research in this area. Following systematic reviews by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and work across several Australian Universities to assess the clinical evidence for the use, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published guidance documents to educate and inform health professionals who are interested in medicinal cannabis as a treatment option for their patients. These cover five particular clinical areas; specifically multiple sclerosis, chronic non-cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer, epilepsy and palliative care. There is also an overarching summary document for both health professionals and patients providing information about side effects of medicinal cannabis treatment and general cautions.
SA Health continues to aid awareness and education for health professionals and consumers through the provision of up-to-date and balanced information. You can find out more about prescribing medicinal cannabis in South Australia, and links to other resources such as fact sheets here.
The Commonwealth Department of Health invited HCA and a broad group of consumer representatives to engage in the Medicinal Cannabis consumer consultation, held in Melbourne on Thursday 18 May 2017.
Information was provided on medicinal cannabis government policy, and recent regulatory developments.
The review of clinical evidence for efficacy of medical cannabis was presented and the development of draft clinical guidelines for clinicians for the use of medicinal cannabis was discussed. The regulatory systems for patient access and patient access schemes were also discussed. The consultation provided the opportunity to raise issues, and for concerned patient groups to ask questions.
Consumers led a discussion about what information they need now and how best this should be communicated in a timely fashion.
You can find more information on Medicinal Cannabis on the Office of Drug Control website here.
HCA is exploring the opportunity of having a similar forum.
SA Health is committed to ensuring South Australians have access to the optimal range of safe and effective treatments and services to promote the best health outcomes for patients and the community
SA Health recently undertook public and targeted consultation about patient access to medicinal cannabis in South Australia. This took into account the national legislative framework established by the Commonwealth to facilitate appropriate patient access to certain medicinal cannabis products for medical conditions where there is evidence to support its use.
Following the consultation a patient access pathway for medicinal cannabis has been developed which is aligned with the existing legislated requirements for Schedule 8 medicines (noting one medicinal cannabis derivative, cannabidiol, is a Schedule 4 product and can be prescribed as such). Under the pathway, patients in South Australia can be supplied medicinal cannabis products prescribed by their medical specialist and dispensed by a pharmacist.
A section 18A authority from the Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU) is only required for treatment longer than 2 months, or before commencing treatment where the person is already prescribed a Schedule 8 drug (for a period exceeding 2 months) and for any person the medical practitioner reasonably believes to be dependent on drugs.
Detailed information about the SA Health patient access pathway, the approval process, product information, evidence base and FAQs is available on the SA Health website here.
Last Thursday HCA hosted researchers Dr Ray Moynihan and Professor Lisa Bero from Bond University and Sydney University for a consumer workshop. The workshop was one in a series of national workshops with consumers about the issue of financial conflicts of interests with a focus on relationships with drug companies. The workshop covered the financial relationships between research funders and clinicians or researchers and the impact on outcomes. The group also discussed why conflict of interests matter and how these conflicts can become risks to studies and how to be more transparent with this information. HCA was pleased to host such a dynamic and engaging workshop.
HCA will share the findings of this study when it becomes available.
HCA will close for the Christmas period, Monday 24 December 2018 and reopening on Monday 7 January 2019. Next week's eNews will be our last for 2018 and will be a short wrap up of the year.
The first edition of our 2019 eNews will be published on Wednesday 23 January 2019.
There is change ahead for the HCA team in 2019, and we take this opportunity to thank our supporters and members for your continued support throughout 2018.
SA Health has established the SA Health Pelvic Mesh Clinic at Royal Adelaide Hospital, a specialist clinic for women experiencing complications from pelvic mesh. The clinic aims to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary health care for all South Australian women experiencing major complications related to pelvic mesh implants. The clinic brings together experts from various health backgrounds and disciplines to work together as a team to review each patient’s individual case. A GP referral is required to access the clinic. Information for consumers and GPs is available here.
The Pelvic Mesh Consumer Support Line: 1800 66 MESH (1800 666 374) remains in operation for consumers requiring information about transvaginal mesh, operating between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care released the Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation. The goals of the Atlas series are to map variation in health care across Australia, promote investigation to identify any unwarranted variation and recommend actions to reduce unwarranted variation.
The Commission released the first Atlas in November 2015. This was followed by the release of the second Atlas covering different topics in June 2017. The third Atlas was launched by the Hon Greg Hunt MP on 11 December 2018.
You can view the report here.
Head to Health is an online portal that helps Australians find appropriate mental health resources. The website has compiled resources from national mental health services such as beyond blue and the black dog insitute as well as universities across Australia into one space to make it easier for Australians to find the right information. You can search for specific resources to suit you, for example if you search for bipolar, several fact sheets and websites specific to bipolar will show with information on how to access support. There is also information for loved ones and carers, with accessible information and steps on how to effectively support someone experiencing mental health challenges.
You can visit the site here.
24 - 27 March 2019
Everything you need to refresh your energy and passion for improving the health of people in rural and remote Australia is there; including:
Register here before 31 December 2018 to take advantage of the discounted Earlybird registration rate.