According to an article published on the GIZMODO website by Rae Johnston the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is planning to change the name of approximately 200 medications in Australia over a seven year period to better align with the international community. According to the article the TGA determines the approved names for medications, however in some cases the names may deviate from the internationally known name as identified by the World Health Organization. During the transition period the TGA will insist that labels show both the old and new medication names.
There is a website setup by the TGA acknowledging the name changes and listing some of the medications names which will be changed. Most will stay relatively the same with only minor variations due to the differences of spelling. Interestingly enough the TGA website was published in November, 2016 and the article in GIZMODO published yesterday. I wonder if there is a delay in the name-change process?
GIZMODO: 200 Australian Medications Are Getting A Name Change
Theraputic Goods Administration: Updating medicine ingredient names – list of affected ingredients
A trend amongst the medical community over the last few years is the use of medical marijuana. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse
medical marijuana ” refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.” Australia has joined 25 other countries in investigating and adopting the use of medical marijuana for treatment in certain patients.
While there is no doubt that recreational use of marijuana is illegal and harmful there have been some benefits shown around pain control and neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease. There are other well known and respected medications which have similar roots in illicit narcotics, opiates such as Morphine is a prime example.
In recent months the TGA has reported to have introduced a scheme to allow for importation of marijuana to allow patients to undertake treatment. The Age has also reported that Australia is following America’s lead in introducing university programs to teach cultivation, legislation and production of marijuana crops.
Is allowing medical marijuana leading our society down a slippery-slope and making it easier for individuals who want a high to obtain their product, thereby the government indirectly condoning it’s use? I think not. Symptom control is a difficult process in those with chronic or severe pain. If we can minimize the use of opiates and help better control pain and other symptoms through the use of marijuana than do we not as a society owe it to ourselves to take this opportunity?
I applaud the Australian government and the healthcare and academic community for continuing its progression to add this treatment to the arsenal available. While I do not believe that there are those who are naive to the fact that there will be nasty side-effects the benefits can outweigh the costs. At least allowing for the trials will give the medical community the information it needs to decide on its future use.
Drug Facts: Marijuana as Medicine
The Age: Australia’s first medicinal cannabis course to teach students ‘whole continuum’ of plant
News.com.au: Medical marijuana legal in Australia: What it means for you
Medical Daily: Medical Cannabis 2016: New Benefits Of Medicinal Marijuana