Government approves cannabis product for Tourette's Syndrome patient

Government approves cannabis product for Tourette's Syndrome patientThe government of New Zealand has given approval to a new medicinal cannabis product for a patient with a severe case of Tourette's Syndrome.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne gave the approval to the new product, Aceso Calm Spray, a non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based product for the patient after an application was filed by the patient's consultant. Mr. Dunne said that the application was received by the Ministry of Health on Friday and he received it on Monday morning. He also said that he approved the allocation a few hours after receiving the application. The minister did not reveal the name of the patient for confidentiality reasons.

Dunne said, "While Sativex has previously been shown to be efficacious in treating Tourette's Syndrome, the Aceso product has been chosen due to its reduced psychoactive side effects. The application was comprehensive, innovative and considered. The Director of Mental Health and the acting Director of Public Health recommended its approval. Although it has been suggested that the information requirements for applications are too stringent, an aspect I expect the current guidelines review will look into, the application I received today suggests that they are not an impediment to robust, clinician-led, assessment-based approaches."

This is the second case when time a cannabis product has been approved by the minister. He had approved Elixinol for Nelson teenager Alex Renton to treat "status epilepticus" in the previous year. The patient had died a month after seeking approval for the cannabis treatment. Health experts said that Sativex in the only product available in the country and can be obtained without requiring an approval from the minister.