Patient access is regulated federally by the Therapeutic Goods Authority and Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. Medical practitioners such as doctors can apply to the TGA to prescribe cannabis related products that are not registered on the TGA to patients. The pathways include Authorised Prescriber – authorisation of doctor for a cohort of patients – and Special Access Scheme (SAS) – authorisation for an individual patient.
The TGA introduced an online system for doctors to lodge applications to prescribe cannabinoid medicines in July 2018. The online system enables a doctor’s application to be submitted simultaneously to both Commonwealth and the relevant State/Territory Health Department.
Each state is progressively enacting laws to enable Medical Cannabis to be cultivated and manufactured, for medical and research purposes. The states, in consultation with the TGA, will determine the patients groups can access Medicinal Cannabis products and the nature of products, distribution and access.
The COAG Health Council committed to supporting the Commonwealth to develop a single national online application pathway to access unregistered medicinal cannabis products. See Communique 13 April 2018. State/Territory specific processes still apply in all jurisdictions other than NSW.