19th March 2024 01:46pm
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (13:45): 

My question is for the Minister for Health, Minister Thomas in the other place. This March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, a time when we are encouraged to talk about endometriosis, the pain it causes and how we can support those living with it. Slowly but surely endometriosis is getting the attention it deserves. Currently this government is supporting Deakin researchers to explore the potential use of medicinal cannabis for pain management in people with endometriosis instead of addictive and harmful opioids.

Medicinal cannabis could be the answer to pain from endometriosis and so many other health conditions, so my question is: will the minister make it easier for patients who would otherwise be prescribed opioids to have the option to instead receive medicinal cannabis?

Ingrid STITT (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (13:46): 

I thank Ms Payne for her question, and I will be very happy to pass that along to the Minister for Health for a written response in accordance with the standing orders.

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (13:46): 

I thank the minister for the referral. By way of supplementary, every single one of the 63 participants in the three-month-long trial will be unable to drive simply because they are medicinal cannabis patients. They are sacrificing their time to help improve government-supported endometriosis research.

They will be constantly monitored and taking their medicine as prescribed, yet this government continues to ignore the research and discriminate against medicinal cannabis patients in a way that is unique from every other prescribed medication. Will the minister commit to ensuring that medicinal cannabis patients in medical studies such as these are empowered with medical exemptions to allow them to drive safely?

Ingrid STITT (Western Metropolitan – Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (13:47): 

I will also pass along Ms Payne’s supplementary question for a written answer.

Written Answer
Received: 20 March 2024
Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas MP
(Minister for Health, Minister for Health Infrastructure, Minister for Ambulance Services)

We know that health conditions like endometriosis have been neglected and even ignored for far too long. That’s why the Allan Labor Government is investing $153 million to change the way in which healthcare for women is delivered in Victoria, and that’s why we’ve established the ground-breaking Women’s Pain Inquiry.

Access to medicinal cannabis in Victoria is subject to both State and Commonwealth legislation. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), a Commonwealth agency, is responsible for regulatory approvals in relation to medicinal cannabis products and administration of relevant rules.

The Victorian Government is committed to enabling the lawful use of medicinal cannabis products, subject to appropriate safeguards.

Under the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (DPCS Act), any medical practitioner or nurse practitioner may prescribe or supply Schedule 8 medicinal cannabis to their patient within the lawful practice of their profession. However, additional requirements including TGA rules may apply.

The Victorian Government will continue to work alongside the Commonwealth, to ensure that Victorian medical practitioners and nurse practitioners are fully equipped to facilitate appropriate access to medicinal cannabis in Victoria, including for conditions like endometriosis.

Supplementary Questions Response:

I’m advised that this is a matter for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.


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