Dunne: Officials will re-examine the prescribing process for Sativex

By August 29, 2015 Recent News

NZ Herald 27 August 2015
Mr Dunne has also announced that officials will re-examine the prescribing process for Sativex, New Zealand’s only medicinal cannabis product.

The mouth spray is the only form of medicinal cannabis currently available, but is not funded by Pharmac and costs about $1300 a month.

Last month the Herald reported that Pharmac, which is responsible for deciding which medicines get subsidised, planned to discuss the Sativex spray with its primary clinical advisory committee.

Mr Dunne said officials would now also look at whether it was too stringent that the Ministry of Health had to approve prescriptions of Sativex, or whether medical practitioners could make that decision.

Earlier this year, 19-year-old Alex Renton’s family campaigned for him to be given medicinal cannabis and in June he was prescribed Elixinol, a cannabidiol made from hemp. Mr Renton died on July 1 at Wellington Hospital after suffering an acute prolonged seizure in April.

When the oil was approved for use in June, Mr Renton was the first person in New Zealand to receive the cannabidiol in hospital.

His mother, Rose Renton, said the medicine should be a “first line” treatment. Ms Renton secretly gave Alex doses of Elixinol after another New Zealand mother sent it to her.