The Greens have welcomed the news that Antony Condina of GD Pharma has been awarded a licence for manufacturing Medical Cannabis products here in South Australia, but have warned that until SA sees similar approvals to ‘grow our own’ for approved manufacturers the price will continue to drive patients underground. Greens Health spokesperson, Tammy Franks MLC, has renewed calls for an amnesty for those patients turning to the black market in the face of no meaningful access to a legal source.
“I congratulate Mr Condina for breaking through and gaining the much needed approvals to manufacture.” Ms Franks stated. “However, importing the cannabis, as he is required to do, will mean the costs will still be too high for many patients.
“This is a green industry ready and raring to go, but tied up in federal blue tape. We could easily be growing our own and far too many companies are still waiting on that approval to grow.
“Watching the federal schemes roll out at such a glacial pace* is heartbreaking for these families and patients. This should be a call to action for state politicians.
“While the cost of the legal product remains prohibitive, they will continue to be forced underground. That is a cruel and callous approach. One estimate by Mr Condina, as reported in local media, suggests it could be $500 for a four day supply of his GD Pharma product in the case of epilepsy. At $250 per 25ml vial, many people will still seek out a cheaper black market option and sufferers and their families will continue to be made into criminals. Sick people should not be made into criminals by a broken system.
“The federal scheme is failing; the state government can offer a short term fix and should step in and offer amnesty to patients and indemnity to doctors until we truly have a system that serves the sick,” she concluded.
*Those approvals GD Pharma have just received were first made possible in 2016. The original (federal) legislation was passed in 2015. With a state patient access pathway approved in April this year.