Last night it was reported on One News that more than 30 complaints were being made to the advertising standards authority on the Drug Foundations new campaign in support of the referendum. The main issue covered was that the adverts implied that adult use legalization would improve access for patients. "It's Rubbish, you know, It is a completely misleading statement," said NZMA Chair Kate Baddock.
MCANZ fully supports the drug foundations assertion that the Cannabis legalisation and control bill will improve patient access, and accuses the NZMA Chair of being out of touch with the battles patients face in the quest for legal access.
"Adult use markets remove one of the biggest barriers for patient access, and that is prescriber hesitancy. The late Stewart Jessamine, a now-deceased top health official had mentioned in meetings with MCANZ the findings of some obscure WHO briefing, which was that changing the prescribing habits of doctors over the age of 35 was effectively a futile task,"
"For this reason, MCANZ believes only a select few GPs will specialize in prescribing Medical Cannabis. Despite a new scheme being in place, exactly 0 products have been entered into the new scheme, and the funding requested for prescriber education by the MOH to improve access has had funding decisions deferred"
"The National party recognized this issue, and in Dr Shane Reti's Medical Cannabis Bill, the solution was to delegate the role of product selection to pharmacists"
"I've met with Kate and other NZMA Board members on occasion, one of their Board members even went so far as to compare the unknown dangers of Cannabis to Thalidomide, which in my mind, is intellectually dishonest at best, considering its thousands of years of safe therapeutic use"
"My open challenge to Kate Baddock, as a practising GP, if medical cannabis is so legal and accessible, how many prescriptions for Cannabidiol, the safest class of Cannabis products, has she as a GP filled out?" Says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.
From an MCANZ initiated study of the illicit use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes that is awaiting publication, we know that the average patient simply can't afford the legal options, and with WINZ and ACC offering limited hope of funding for those most in need of Medical Cannabis, MCANZ wants to highlight the stark choices patients will face with a simple comparison on products.
Bedrocan, a high THC Flower available on prescription in Australia, would cost at least $640 in New Zealand, plus doctors consult for an ounce. In California on the other hand, a high-quality ounce available at dispensaries, is only $320NZD for medical users, with the freedom to try different plant varieties.
"Based on the prescription model in Australia, versus the over the counter dispensaries in California, its safe to say the Adult use referendum will have a significant positive effect on affordability for patients, even with price controls" Says Shane.
For Patients, there are 2 options to address the costs, which sickness beneficiaries most of all can ill afford, Subsidise, or Legalise. Of the two, Legalisation has the best chance of actually happening.