FRUSTRATED: Lanai and Lindsay Carter protested the delay in accessing his medicinal cannabis outside the Queensland Health Building last week.
LINDSAY Carter spent Good Friday in Logan hospital. The 17-year-old, who has a brain tumour, had suffered a major seizure.
Twelve months ago his mother Lanai Carter sought to facilitate a Special Access Scheme Category B Application for Lindsay’s specific medicinal cannabis products to be prescribed by his Australian medical practitioner, as recommended by his United States physicians.
On February 26 Lindsay’s SAS-Category B application was approved by the TGA. Only Lindsay is yet to receive the State Health Director General’s approval, which will see the products with which his tumour has been treated in the United States with staggering success, delivered to an Australian pharmacy.
When Lindsay was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 14, it was deemed too risky to operate due to the location of the tumour in his brain. So was chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The family has travelled to the United States on four separate occasions where Lindsay’s tumour and seizures were treated successfully with medicinal cannabis.
But since their last trip, and with no access to Lindsay’s prescribed medication in Australia, he has suffered multiple seizures. With Lindsay’s health steadily deteriorating before her eyes as the family anxiously waits on the relevant state approvals to come through, Ms Carter last week took the decision to commence legal action against the Queensland Department of Health.
Last week Ms Carter, her son and lawyer convened a meeting with the Director General.
“I cannot say we were satisfied enough with the meeting because every day that our son’s medicine is delayed he is at risk of further seizures and deterioration and his life is put at risk,” Ms Carter said.
“While we are now more confident that state approval will be issued next week, the state approval process is still taking too long because Queensland Health are complicating and delaying access by duplicating the federal TGA treatment approval process that Lindsay’s doctor has already been through.
“So having them tell us that they were working on completing this process as quickly as possible and hoping to have it all finalised by the end of next week was of little relief to us, after only having been in hospital on Friday with Lindsay.”
While Ms Carter acknowledges that Lindsay is not only the first patient in Queensland but in Australia to access medical cannabis from overseas through the legal channels, it doesn’t make the wait any easier with his life at constant risk due to seizures and the brain tumour.
“Our son has already endured an 11-month wait for an approval from the Federal TGA special Access scheme. That process was cumbersome, lengthy, tortuous to say the least,” she said.
“While the government finally may be appearing to do something on the surface to fix a problem with our country’s legislation surrounding medical cannabis on the other hand they over-regulate to the point where it causes unnecessary hardship, delay, expense and stress on the people in this country that need it the least.
“We will not tolerate further unnecessary delays to the application at a state level due to their duplicative processes that have already been completed by TGA at a federal level.
The TGA had already determined Lindsay’s medical right for his doctor to prescribe his medication and its suitability in Lindsay’s case. Through the application process an extensive review of the licencing, certificates of analysis for the specific medical cannabis products, as well as quality control surrounding the supply from Canada has been completed. However, after the introduction of the state’s Medical Cannabis Bill in February, the Carter’s were advised that they would need to submit an application to the state.
“The frustrating thing is that this state process is based on a state Bill that’s only just been proposed, a bill that’s not even been debated through parliament and most likely won’t even come into legislation till later on this year. Yet they want to make my son’s application go through this proposed process before it’s even in law yet.
“Terminally ill patients shouldn’t have to wait weeks or months for approval.
“Everyday Australians are being forced to become criminals to save the lives and ease the suffering of their loved ones.”