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The End Of The Transition Period Disrupts Supply For Thousands Of Patients

Recently the Minister of Health Andrew little confirmed there will be no extension for most CBD products patients have been prescribed and are using successfully. Andrew talked of making major adjustments to several health initiatives but has decided to achieve a project milestone by ending the transition period without the deliverable of an adequate supply of products being met.

The Medicinal Cannabis scheme is barely servicing a small group of patients while many others are forced to access medication from the illegal market. Andrew suggested patients can organize importing their own cannabis medications with the support of a doctor. He did not give details regarding the difficulty of this process or where patients might get the money or support to achieve it. 
This process is unreliable. Katy Thomas, who has become a spokesperson for Medicinal Cannabis Awareness NZ (MCANZ) has had her son’s medicine destroyed at customs multiple times, and international freight is seriously compromised post-COVID

"This removal of the products allowed for use during the transition will harm approximately 2500 New Zealanders as they will not be able to get the Cannabis-based medication they use.”

“The risk of stopping medications can be fatal, especially to those with epilepsy and can cause a raft of dangerous physical and mental health issues for other conditions.”

“The Medicinal Cannabis Agency (MCA) has failed to provide any replacement products or answers for any of these people. “ Says Katy
 

Part of the failure to have products assessed and approved under the new regime is at the Agency is choosing to interpret the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards that cannabis medicine must meet at higher levels than the likes of Germany or Australia, and is proving expensive and slow for manufacturers to meet and deterring suppliers. MCANZ is of the view that there will be no affordable NZ made products, if the quality standards, in their current form are not reduced.

MCANZ feel this could have been avoided if the Minister or his agencies had listened to patients, advocates, and supportive health professionals. This failure has put patients at risk.

“Clearly the Pharmaceutical regulations need an overhaul with patients needs and access a priority rather than pedantic overzealous bureaucratic requirements.” Says Auckland Patients group advocate Pearl Schomburg

Pearl Schomburg, founder of Auckland Patients Group.

MCANZ is disgusted that a government that promotes compassion, kindness, and health for all New Zealanders has chosen to be so callous. MCANZ calls for a review of the regulations, its settings and why the scheme hasn’t delivered, four years after Labour came to power with an election promise to “legalize” Medical Cannabis in 100 days. It may be legal, but the system is not enabling access.

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