Australian Government permits medicinal cannabis exports
In an important step for the development of the medicinal cannabis sector, the Australian Government has announced that it will permit the export of medicinal cannabis products.
The decision follows extensive consultation that was undertaken last year and is expected to help both the domestic supply and Australian producers by strengthening the opportunities for domestic manufacturers.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said in a statement that the Turnbull government is committed to ensuring a safe, quality supply of medicinal cannabis is available to Australian patients under proper medical supervision. This became clear in November last year when the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced changes to its Special Access Scheme (SAS) that make it easier for medical practitioners to prescribe cannabis-based medicines for patients in need, under certain conditions.
Now, as the expanding domestic medicinal cannabis products industry faces increasing competition from imports, the government has decided to amend the regulations governing the export of cannabis products to provide a level playing field, allowing the export of medicinal cannabis products to help the developing domestic market to grow further.
Hunt said it will be a condition of any licence authorising export that medicinal cannabis products be made available, when and if required, to Australian patients first.
It has separately been announced that medical life science company Medlab Clinical Limited (ASX:MDC) has received a licence from the Victorian Government to sell its cannabis products in Australia. The licence permits Medlab to sell or supply Schedule 8 (controlled drug) or Schedule 9 (prohibited substance) drugs, limited to cannabis and its derivatives.
Specifically, the company’s NanaBis (cannabis CBD:THC product) and NanaBidial (cannabis CBD product) will be sold under the licence. Currently in production at Pharmaceuticals Packaging Professionals in Melbourne, Medlab will be providing NanaBis under the SAS to patients with specific needs, commencing in late February this year.
According to Medlab CEO Sean Hall, continued support from the medical community, the various states and federal government for cannabis-based medicine is pleasing.
“We are seeking to make our medicines distinctive, giving medical practitioners, government and industry stakeholders such as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) confidence in prescribing our products,” said Hall.
“This licence to sell, combined with the recently renewed import licence (allowing for significant increases in the amounts of cannabis allowed to be imported), gives Medlab a significant advantage in being able to assist the medical community in treating advanced cancer pain.”
Medlab (ASX:MDC) shares rose a whopping 27.16% on Wednesday, the day of the announcement. They were trading 0.46% higher at $1.085 as of around 11.30 am on Friday.
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