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Dunne Says Honesty Needed on Medicinal Cannabis Debate

Dunne Says Honesty Needed on Medicinal Cannabis Debate


Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has criticised ‘misleading and emotive’ statements on medicinal cannabis from pro-cannabis groups.

“These groups claim the government is blocking research and development of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals. That is not only absolutely wrong, but also shows a woeful ignorance of the process for approving any new medicinal products” says Mr Dunne.

“If cannabis is sought for its medicinal benefits, then it must be subject to the same rigour and testing that we expect of all pharmaceutical products. The fact is the government does not oppose the trial and development of cannabis-based medicines, as the availability of Sativex on the New Zealand market already shows.

“I am also aware that the Ministry of Health has proactively contacted GW Pharmaceuticals regarding the availability of Epidiolex, which is being trialled for sufferers of Dravet Syndrome”, Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says that while any such development must be undertaken within the tight rules and regulations that govern the pharmaceutical market in New Zealand, the bottom line is that it is not the government’s place to develop, trial and bring medicines to market – that responsibility sits squarely with the pharmaceutical industry.

He says consumers need to be directing their questions to the pharmaceutical industry, not the government, as to why the products they are seeking are unavailable in New Zealand.

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