Since changes to NSW legislation came into effect on 1 August 2016, medical practitioners have been able to apply to NSW Health for authority to prescribe and supply Schedule (S8) cannabis medicines, including those not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
On 30 September 2019, NSW legislation changes came into effect to reduce the circumstances requiring an application to NSW Health to prescribe or supply S8 cannabis medicines. An application is required where the cannabis medicine is for a drug dependent person, for a clinical trial (if it is an unregistered cannabis medicine), or to treat a child aged under 16 years.
In the period 1 August 2016 to 30 September 2019, NSW Health received 4,737 applications for authority to prescribe and supply S8 cannabis medicines (including registered and unregistered products) for the treatment of individual patients. These figures exclude treatment of individuals as part of a clinical trial.
Figure 1 below shows the cumulative number of applications to prescribe a S8 cannabis medicine received for the period 1 August 2016 to 30 September 2019.
Source: NSW Ministry of Health (17/12/19)
Note: An application may be included more than once in Figure 1. For example, it includes submitted applications that were not required because the prescriber had an existing authority in place, and may include applications submitted via the wrong approval pathway.
Since legislation changes came into effect on 30 September 2019, the number of applications to NSW Health has decreased significantly.