23 March 2023, 12:03
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

My question is for Minister Blandthorn, representing the Minister for Health. As highlighted in my adjournment speech last night, the cost of medicinal cannabis – up to $1000 per week for some patients – can be a hugely prohibitive barrier to access, particularly for those who are unable to work as a result of their severe illness. Put simply, medicinal cannabis legislation does not equate to access for thousands of patients. To this end, the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association is seeking to establish Compass, a charitably funded compassionate access scheme that will provide subsidised access for certain medicinal cannabis patients in Australia and has sought seed funding, if you will pardon the pun, from the federal government. So the question I ask is: will the minister lobby her federal counterpart Minister Butler to support the AMCA proposal?

Lizzie BLANDTHORN (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services):

Thank you, Mr Ettershank, for your question and for your care and concern for people who are suffering. It is obviously a question for the Minister for Health, as you identified, and in accordance with the standing orders I will pass that on to her and she will let you receive a response.


Before I call Mr Ettershank, while I am happy to take his supplementary, I feel like that was more of an adjournment matter than a question. But I will take your supplementary.


I thank the minister for her response. By way of supplementary I simply ask: will the minister meet with Lucy Haslam, the co-founder and chair of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association and COMPASS in the same context?Answer


Thank you again, Mr Ettershank, and again I will pass that on to the Minister for Health for her consideration.

***The President ordered a written response for both questions ***

Written Answer
Received: 27 March 2023
Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas
(Minister for Health, Health Infrastructure & Medical Research)

Decisions about the approval and subsidy of medicines in Australia is the responsibility of the Commonwealth. There are a number of programs which subsidise medicines with the aim of improving affordability, including the listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

In the case of the PBS, medicines are assessed for inclusion according to specific access criteria. Additional indications are assessed for inclusion on the PBS following application for inclusion by the product sponsor.

Sponsor applications must then be evaluated by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (the Committee) and approved before being listed on the PBS. The Victorian Government is unable to influence the Committee in its determinations.


Similar Posts