NEW South Wales children with severe treatment-resistant epilepsy will be provided with "compassionate access" to a new marijuana-based medicine.
Premier Mike Baird has announced a deal had been made with the creators of Epidiolex - an orally-ingested formulation of pure cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana plants.
Speaking outside the Sydney Children's Hospital this morning, Mr Baird and Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward said families of eligible children would be contacted in the coming weeks.
"We will be able to deliver access to Epidiolex to allow some of our most vulnerable children to use a cannabis-based medicine under medical supervision," Mr Baird said.
"Parents have told us they do not want to play pharmacist - they want nothing but the best for their children and we are driven by this same purpose."
Ms Goward said the NSW Government recognised the potential of cannabis-based medicines for people who had exhausted conventional treatment options.
"We have embarked on an ambitious research program to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids for patients suffering from a range of debilitating conditions," Ms Goward said.
Specialist paediatric neurologists who practice in NSW public hospitals have been authorised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to prescribe Epidiolex.
Clinicians, who will monitor the children receiving the medicine, will contact eligible families with further details.
Other marijuana-based medicines are expected to be trialled in the near future.
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