Terminally ill patients are prevented from quickly accessing unregistered cannabis medicines without approval from the TGA through the Special Access Scheme (SAS) Category A.
For all other unregistered medicines, SAS Category A provides expidited access to medicines.
In November 2016, amendments to the Therapeutic Goods legislation removed access to unregistered medicinal cannabis products for terminally ill patients for whom death is immiment (within months) through SAS Category A.
On 13 June 2017, however, Australian Senator and Green’s leader Richard Di Natale led a disallowance motion which was supported by a majority in the Senate which subsequently reinstated medicinal cannabis access through SAS Cat A. However, this was not sufficient to ensure access due to additional restrictions imposed on importers by the Office of Drug Control.