Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) has expanded its partnership with Little Green Pharma (LGP) to include supporting the Quality of Life Evaluation Study (the QUEST Initiative).

The move comes after HIF announced a strategic partnership with LGP in November 2020 under which it would pay rebates for medicinal cannabis with eligible members receiving up to A$105 back per script.

The QUEST Initiative is a wide-ranging, longitudinal study that aims to be one of the world’s largest examining quality of life and health economics outcomes in patients prescribed medicinal cannabis. It plans to recruit at least 2,100 patients by June 2021 with potential to extend internationally.

The study will assess changes in patient conditions and symptoms using self-reported quality-of-life outcomes, and will collect information on patient mobility, functionality, pain or discomfort, anxiety and depression, medication requirements and ongoing health costs.

Any chronic condition existing for more than three months that may be treated with medicinal cannabis will be eligible to be included.

HIF CEO Justin James: finding solutions for members

QUEST is independently run by the University of Sydney and endorsed by a range of national bodies including MS Research Australia, Chronic Pain Australia, Arthritis Australia, Epilepsy Action Australia and HIF.

HIF CEO Justin James said supporting QUEST was important to further understanding the health benefits of medicinal cannabis.

He added: “Little Green Pharma is doing some amazing things in this industry and supporting them in this next venture, which will increase understanding of the efficacy of medicinal cannabis on improving quality of life, made sense.

“We want to be part of finding solutions for members when it comes to their health, and we believe supporting this study – alongside a range of national health bodies in our industry – represents a step in the right direction for our industry.”

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