Victoria To Participate In Medicinal Cannabis Trials

19 April 2015

The Andrews Labor Government is joining with the NSW Government to help Victorians suffering terminal illnesses or life-threatening conditions to participate in three medicinal cannabis clinical trials.

Many Victorians with terminal illnesses or life-threatening conditions want to use medicinal cannabis to relieve their pain and treat their conditions, including children whose parents have successfully treated them when other medicines have failed.

Prior to the election, Labor committed to legalising the use of medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances because families shouldn't have to choose between breaking the law and watching their child suffer.

In December last year, the Government asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to advise how the law can be changed to legalise and regulate the use of medicinal cannabis so it may be used to treat people with terminal or life-threatening conditions safely and securely. The Commission’s report is due by the end of August.

The three trials, being conducted by the NSW Government, will explore the use of cannabis and/or cannabis derived products in providing relief for patients suffering from a range of debilitating or terminal illnesses.

The first trial is for children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy, and will have between 60 and 200 participants.

Victoria is working with NSW to ensure that at least a quarter of the participants will be from Victoria.

The trial is scheduled to start enrolling eligible patients in mid-2016, with results expected to be available within two to five years.

NSW Health is also working with the research community to assess interest in proceeding with two trials for adults with terminal illness – focusing on improving quality of life, and symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting – and adults with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, where standard treatment is ineffective.

These trials will each have around 200 participants, and at least of quarter of those participants will also be Victorian.

Supporting Victorians to participate in these trials is an important part of the overarching work this Government is doing to legalise medicinal cannabis for use in exceptional circumstances.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“I've seen first-hand the relief medicinal cannabis can give children with life-threatening illnesses."

"We've asked the Law Reform Commission for its advice on how the law can be changed so that families don't have to make this difficult choice."

“Victorians will now be able to participate in important clinical trials that could change their lives and the lives of families everywhere."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“By supporting and participating in these trials with NSW, Victorians will be helping to enhance the evidence around medicinal cannabis.”

“We will support Victorians who are interested in becoming a participant in these trials to find out if they are eligible and, if so, provide funding for their participation in the trial."

"We know the difference medicinal cannabis can make to people's lives. That's why it's so important we do everything we can to help families access the treatment securely and safely."

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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