Medicinal cannabis clinic Cann I Help has introduced an electronic prescription service for patients which it is rolling out nationally.
An approved medicinal cannabis recipient gets access to a secure, government-sanctioned QR code which is automatically sent to their nominated pharmacy along with all relevant TGA documentation.
Twelve doctors have signed up to the new platform and processed around 3,000 e-scripts across Australia during a four-month trial.
Cann I Help head of medical Dr Laurence Kemp said while the complex approval process for medicinal cannabis patients is “understandable”, it was unnecessary for them to run into difficulties when taking an approved prescription to a pharmacy.
He added: “An e-script for medicinal cannabis goes some way to breaking down the barriers and inequalities these patients face. It is a small change that will have a big impact.
“People who are prescribed medicinal cannabis are generally quite unwell so delays in delivery and stressful administration isn’t healthy.”
Pharmacist Nick Ravenswood, from healthSAVE in Brisbane, said the move was a positive step forward in improving patient care.
“Without an e-script there are hours of administration for staff to pair a patient’s paperwork and TGA documentation with doctor and pharmacy details,” he said.
“Then the patient has to wait for the medicinal cannabis to be couriered to us or them. This revolutionises the system, allowing approved patients to gain easy and seamless access to medications prescribed to them by their doctor.
“[They] can now obtain their prescribed medication like anyone else.”
Patient Casey Thompson was prescribed medicinal cannabis for insomnia and the side effects of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
She said: “I’m currently undergoing chemotherapy as part of my treatment, so I have days where I’m quite unwell and can’t leave the house.
“My immunity is compromised, so travelling about and mixing with groups of people isn’t recommended.
“I respect there needs to be a rigorous process to establish and approve a medicinal cannabis patient, but it is frustrating to find that, after you have jumped through all the hoops and you’re approved, you only have to keep jumping through more every time you fill a script.
“The new e-script service means rather than waiting weeks, I now have my medication couriered in days, or I can nominate to pick it up within a few minutes at my local pharmacy.”
Cann I Help also offers a compassionate access program to support patients struggling to afford medicinal cannabis treatments not yet on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.