Despite a slight decrease in SAS-B approvals in October, Australia's medicinal cannabis industry displays rapid growth year on year, with close to 50,000 for 2020.
The Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) states that the Special Access Scheme (SAS) permits certain health practitioners the ability to acquire medicines, medical devices or biologicals which are not found in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) for their patients.
As of today, the TGA has outlined three SAS pathways for health practitioners to access these therapeutic goods, keeping in mind that they are responsible for which pathways are suitable for each individual cases.
Category B applications can be processed by health practitioners and will need to go through an approvals process by TGA prior to supplying the patients with the 'unapproved' products. The prerequisites for approvals are three patient identifiers (patient diagnosis and indication, product details and prescriber details) along with a set of clinical justifications for the use of the products recommended.
This process may seem lengthy when you delve in the details of it's approvals process though interestingly, the TGA has approved record numbers of medicinal cannabis patients this year. October has seen a slight decrease of 4% (5,972 prescriptions approved) as compared to the record high numbers in September: though this month's total shows a 66% increase as compared to October 2019 approved applications.
As we approach the end of 2020, the SAS-B Scheme shows an upwards trend of approved applications year on year. Furthermore, approved applications are close to 50,000 this year alone, displaying the rapid growth in demand as more patients seek for alternative medical treatment.
Evidence shows that medicinal cannabis can help treat various conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pains. In some cases, doctors made recommendations for cannabis to be a better alternative to opioids as growing evidence proved it to be detrimental to long term public health. As more research are being conducted, we may see the number of SAS-B applications approved at exponential rates due to the unequivocal evidence of benefits in using medicinal cannabis.
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