Oz Gets Real on Epilepsy, Subsidizes Epidiolex
In an historic first, Australians living with Dravet Syndrome, a devastating and usually fatal form of epilepsy in children, will have access to a medicinal cannabis drug, and also receive financial assistance which is being listed on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the first time.
Starting tomorrow, May 1, 2021, not only will the Australian Government grant access to Epidyolex®, a drug that is a massive dose of cannabidiol (CBD) isolate but it will also subsidize it to provide relief for the families who are often devastated when a family member is afflicted.
A typical annual course of the medicine could cost A$24,000, but with the support of the PBS, instead, they will now pay only $41.30 per script or $6.60 if they have a concession card.
Epidyolex® (spelled Epidiolex in the US) is only the second medicinal cannabis drug registered for supply in Australia, and the first one to be subsidised by the Australian Government on the PBS.
Generally, cannabis is considered a Schedule 9 Prohibited Substance in Australia on its Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons, however in the case of a CBD-isolate such as Epidiolex, it is Schedule 4: Prescription Only Medicine, defined as: "cannabidiol in preparations for therapeutic use containing 2 percent or less of other cannabinoids found in cannabis".