The NSW Government has announced they will be trialing a new cannabis-based drug with 40 children who suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy.
The oral medicine is known as Epidiolex and has been trialed overseas. The NSW Government has secured supplies for the trial from the UK. The children will be able to access the treatment through the compassionate access scheme.
NSW Premier Mike Baird said children who suffer the worst from the condition and who don’t respond to current drugs on the market will be the first to trial the new drug.
“I have spoken to some of those parents, I’ve been moved by their tears,” he said.
“I just can’t imagine what it would be like to stand there, to be there, to look at your children suffering and continuing to suffer.
“Sometimes you can provide hope and today is one of those days.”
Later this year, there will be trials for medicinal cannabis but this will not run alongside this new drug scheme.
It’s unfortunate the government has only secured a limited amount of medicine for the trial.
Dr John Lawson from the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick admitted he was optimistic with the medicinal cannabis trials. He hopes more patients will be given the treatment within the next year.
“Hopefully we will have hundreds involved in the next 12 months [in the trials],” he said.
“This is not a miracle for everyone,” he said.
“Maybe one in 10 will have a very good response and maybe one in three will have a good response.
“But this is in a group where there has been no hope.”