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Dunne’s medicinal cannabis list will not help patients

Press release: Dunne’s medicinal cannabis list will not help patients, says NORML

[23 Feb 2017]

Dunne’s latest announcement will make little difference to patients and is merely a smokescreen to hide the Government’s lack of action, says NORML.

In a press release, Peter Dunne is trumpeting the fact that he’s written to medical organisations to share a list of overseas cannabis products and tell doctors to consider cannabis products with an “open mind”. Ironically, the content of his message to doctors shows the ones with the most closed minds on the topic reside in his own government office.

“Unfortunately this won’t make much difference,” said Chris Fowlie, president of NORML NZ Inc. “The real problems remain: the lack of funding, and the complicated burdensome application process that puts off patients and doctors from even applying.”

“All medicinal cannabis products remain unfunded by Pharmac, so they are still out of reach of most patients. Moreover, the products on Dunne’s list are only available to a tiny number of patients who make it through the Ministry of Health’s ridiculously arduous application process,” said Rebecca Reider, board member and first to legally possess herbal medicinal cannabis.

For example, Sativex costs around $1100 to $1400 per month, depending on each pharmacy’s profit margin. Bedrocan and Tilray, the other two overseas natural cannabis products listed, will also be too expensive for most patients to afford.

In his press release, Peter Dunne agreed Sativex is too expensive: “Unfortunately, Sativex, the one pharmaceutical-grade product that is available in New Zealand continues to be extortionately priced as big pharma continues to ignore the building resentment, both local and global, to the attitude these companies take to the sick and vulnerable.”

“It’s a slap in the face to all patients that Mr Dunne is blaming ‘big pharma’ and saying their extortionist pricing and bad attitudes are to blame. The real problem is the attitudes of Dunne and the National Party, who seem to think that cannabis is only a medicine when it’s patented by an overseas company,” said Rebecca Reider. “Why do we need a foreign corporation to press it into a hyper-expensive form for us? We have all the tools to grow and produce cannabis medicine right here in New Zealand.”

Peter Dunne recently criticised patients who protested near his home, saying “I actually don’t think any of those people were genuinely concerned about the people who were suffering, they were thinking about their own selfish agendas.”

“Under Peter Dunne’s watch patients have died waiting for approvals. It’s no wonder they are desperate and angry,” said Chris Fowlie. “There are plenty of things Peter Dunne and the National Party could easily do to facilitate safe legal access to medicinal cannabis, if they really wanted to.”

- ends –

Peter Dunne's press release is at http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1702/S00290/options-and-expectations-for-cannabis-based-products.htm.
For more information including what Peter Dunne and the National Party should be doing, please see: https://norml.org.nz/2017/dunnes-medicinal-cannabis-list-makes-little-difference-says-norml/


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