Weed Week: Australian medical cannabis prescriptions are soaring
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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The number of medical cannabis prescriptions issued under Australia’s special access scheme just keeps on growing.
There were a record 9,959 SAS Category B marijuana prescriptions issued in March, two and a half times the number from a year ago, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration disclosed this week.
February’s 8,057 approvals were the previous record. There had been an average of 5,000 prescriptions issued in the previous 12 months.
Since the medical marijuana access scheme was implemented in 2016 there have now been over 100,000 prescriptions issued to an unknown number of patients. (The TGA says it receives de-identified applications and can’t match them to individual patients.)
These figures don’t even include prescriptions written by “authorised prescribers” who often prescribe a high volume of cannabis and don’t have to seek TGA approval for each individual script.
As of the end of February, there were 215 “authorised prescribers”, up from 179 at the start of the year and just 29 in December 2019.
Under the TGA’s rules patients can access marijuana to treat cancer and non-cancer pain; anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness; chemotherapy-induced nauseua; and other conditions.
Elsewhere this week, in North America, a legalisation bill advanced in the US state of Connecticut as well as in Mexico.
Meanwhile, of the 36 companies in the ASX cannabis sector, 15 gained ground over the past week and 11 lost it.
The biggest gainer was Eve Investments, up 16.7 per cent to 0.7c on no news.
MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) has been the best performer year-to-date, up 180 per cent to 7c.