Medical Cannabis Priced Out of Patients' Pockets

Kate Paraskevos
Gold Coast Sun 28 August 2019

 

A medical cannabis advocate says desperate Gold Coasters are turning to the black market or growing their own marijuana because authorities are failing to provide affordable access to the drug.

Deb Lynch, president of the Medical Cannabis Users' Association of Australia (MCUA), said sick or dying people were forking out $800 per bottle of oil which would last only two or three days.

Astronomical costs aside, she said getting access to the scheme was also difficult.

"I have one lady who lives on the Gold Coast with her 17-year-old son who is non-verbal and wheelchair bound, whose seizures are so intense, that he has had femurs snap," Ms Lynch said.

"His mum has kept him seizure-free for four years, yet she was advised that unless he was seizing 24 hours a day, or dying, they would not prescribe a legal prescription.

"This leaves this poor woman, who herself is fighting cancer with cannabis oil, as a criminal.

"The whole system is a mess, corporate money-making and research funding seems to be more important than patient care and this is just not good enough."

Ms Lynch said people who needed cannabis treatments were being forced to seek out dealers to get their oils.

"We are just trying to survive our health issues without being classed as criminals.

"Patients are being forced through medical necessity to the black market or to home grow and make their own medicines, risking arrest and prosecution as I was.

"I have requested an appointment with Police Minister Mark Ryan to discuss these issues, but as yet have not been granted a meeting."

In 2016, the Queensland Government passed laws to give specialists such as oncologists, paediatric neurologists and palliative care specialists the right to prescribe medical cannabis.

Ms Lynch said she made five recommendations last year to Health Minister Steven Miles that would allow Queensland patients access to life-changing cannabis oil and homegrown options.

Mr Miles said the domestic medical cannabis industry was in its infancy but "believed it had great potential".

"There are several companies working towards having medicinal cannabis products produced locally in Queensland," he said.

"I look forward to following their progress in taking their products to market. This will help improve access and reduce costs for these increasingly important medicines."

The MCUA is holding an educational event at the Varsity Lakes Community Hall in Mattocks Road Burleigh Waters, on September 14 from noon.

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