Do you know how many applications have been granted access to medical cannabis products in Australia (as of the 31st of August 2021)? If you guessed “over 150,000“, you’d be right.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has just updated its medical cannabis information. As part of this update, it listed the number of approvals it granted for Category B of the Special Access Scheme (SAS) this year. The SAS scheme gives Australians with cancer pain, neuropathic pain, refractory pediatric epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and other conditions access to cannabis medicines that aren’t listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
Here’s a breakdown of the growth over the past two years:
While the number of approvals per month seemed to fluctuate late last year, it’s shot up quite dramatically since the start of the year. And since January 2021, the total number of medical cannabis approvals has nearly doubled – as approximately 48.5% of total SAS B approvals were made in 2021. To check out the magnitude of this growth, check out this graph:
Though while these figures show just how popular medical cannabis is becoming in Australia, there are a few small things to note about the numbers, as:
- Some patients will have two or more approvals (one approval per cannabis medicine)
- These numbers don’t accurately reflect the number of active medical cannabis patients (as many patients switch to illegal black market cannabis to save money)
- These numbers don’t account for people with access to cannabis medicines through SAS Category A or the ARTG (as both Sativex and Epidyolex are now listed in the ARTG)
- These numbers may not account for Australians who are accessing cannabis medicines through a clinical trial or the Authorized Prescriber Scheme (Australia currently has authorized prescribers)
Nevertheless, these figures are pretty fascinating. And looking at them, it’s honestly no wonder Australia’s medical cannabis market is expected to double to $200 million this year.