Family of epilepsy teen welcome sale of marijuana
TODAY could mark the beginning of a new life for teenager Lachlan Miles, who has severe drug-resistant epilepsy which he has battled for years.
He is one of 30 epilepsy patients part of a clinical trial to be given access to Epidiolex on a compassionate access scheme.
Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is a liquid form of pure cannabidiol and the program is led by Lady Cilento Children's Hospital paediatric neuroscience director Dr Geoff Wallace.
Lachlan will be admitted to the Brisbane hospital at 11am.
His mother Rhonda Miles said there would be two days of tests before the teen was given a product that could help his condition.
"We're happy; it's been a long haul but it's like any other medication, Lachlan may or may not benefit," she said.
The Miles family also welcomed the Federal Government's approval of the sale of medicinal marijuana yesterday.
Health Minister Greg Hunt announced companies were permitted to apply to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally.
The family has campaigned to reform the medical cannabis law in Queensland, which has been overwhelmingly supported in the past.
"Our family sees this move as another positive step in the right direction to set up a supply of medical cannabis products within Australia," Mrs Miles said.
"It is important though that the government does not just hand supply of medical cannabis products to the big pharmaceutical model.
"If this happens there is a real risk that even with a bulk supply of imported products arriving in Australia this may be outside the financial means of patients."
Mrs Miles said the key to affordable access was for doctors to support patients to a range of products.
She said these products could be produced cost effectively by models of production outside the big pharmaceutical model.
"Herbal companies as an example or government supply chains could produce a range of cost-effective products for patient access and are likely to be more accessible and affordable for patients," she said.
"Our fear is that if the government goes to a big pharmaceutical model only it may result in these products still being difficult to access and too expensive to be affordable to those who need them."
The Federal Parliament last year passed laws to legalise medicinal cannabis use in Australia for patients with painful and chronic illnesses.
Those include cancer patients, HIV sufferers and people with severe epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, among others.
The rules will vary from state to state as to approved conditions and ages.
Patients wanting access to the drug for relief currently require a letter from their GP or an approved prescriber.