Cannabis spray considered for public funding

NZ Herald 27 July 2015
A cannabis spray used to treat epilepsy, pain and multiple sclerosis will be considered for public funding next month.

Pharmac, the agency responsible for deciding which medicines get subsidised, plans to discuss the Sativex spray with its primary clinical advisory committee, according to a letter from Pharmac released on Friday.

Pharmac said Sativex contained cannabidiol with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

The agency said consideration from the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee was the first step in assessing the funding of a new medicine.

According to Medsafe, Sativex was already approved for use in New Zealand as “an add-on treatment” for some patients with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

Specifically, it could be given to people who hadn’t responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication and who showed improvement in spasticity-related symptoms during an initial trial of therapy.
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