It’s been reported Queensland will stage its own medical cannabis trial after negotiations regarding a joint program with New South Wales broke down.
As recently as October, the Palaszczuk government said it would work with NSW on a trial of the cannabis based epilepsy medication Epidiolex; which was to involve the treatment of children.
The Courier Mail reports the state will now run its own trial; with a study due to start at Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital within months.
The Courier Mail states it believes the partnership broke down after New South Wales was reluctant to enroll patients from Queensland; even though the Queensland state government was prepared to kick in three million dollars towards the trials.
Just prior to the news, the Queensland Liberal National Party said the program had become “delayed and entangled in a bureaucratic quagmire”.
“This time last year Minister Dick said the government would ‘work on this very quickly and try to get it done as soon as possible’ but in the last 12 months nothing has changed,” said Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle yesterday.
Regardless of how this plays out, there are high hopes attached to the Epidiolex program. The medication’s makers, UK based GW Pharmaceuticals, recently reported Epidiolex achieved a significant reduction in convulsive seizures in a particularly severe form of drug-resistant epilepsy associated with Dravet Syndrome.
According to GW Pharmaceuticals, 6.3 per 1000 children are diagnosed with epilepsy in the United States and up to 20% of these cases demonstrate resistance to current medications.
The company says it is currently focusing on treatment of Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. These syndromes can see children suffering seizures dozens of times a day, which can consequently lead to brain damage.
Epidiolex is based on the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD).
In other recent related news from Queensland, in March the state government released its Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 for public consultation. It also published an overview of medicinal cannabis including information on potential health benefits, the state of the market, major products and legislative issues.