Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 153–156 | Cite as

Medicinal Cannabis and the Tyranny of Distance: Policy Reform Required for Optimizing Patient and Health System Net Benefit in Australia

  • David CaldicottEmail author
  • Justin Sinclair
  • Lynnaire Sheridan
  • Simon Eckermann

In the evolution of any novel concept, there is a spectrum in the rate at which individuals adopt a new idea, a diffusion of innovation stretching from innovators to laggards [1]. Such a distribution is emerging globally in the rapidly evolving field of medicinal cannabis (MC). Countries such as Israel, the Netherlands and, more recently, Canada could be regarded as innovators [2, 3]. They have taken pragmatic health system-based responses to the needs of patients, facilitating access to those with highest expected net clinical benefit while conducting trials and studies in parallel. Even the USA, with its patchwork quilt of innovation and lack of federal oversight, is developing insights into what works for their patient populations, and what doesn’t [4].

In contrast, Australia cannot be regarded as an innovator while obstacles continue to thwart the creation of an efficient, patient-oriented system, despite intentions of Federal legislation passed in February 2016 [5]. Obstacles...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This commentary received no financial funding.

David Caldicott, Justin Sinclair, Lynnaire Sheridan and Simon Eckermann have no conflicts of interest. David Caldicott is a member of the ACT Medical Cannabis Advisory Group. Justin Sinclair, David Caldicott and Simon Eckermann are members on the Scientific Board of United in Compassion. Justin Sinclair is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of BioCeuticals.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The ANU College of Health & Medicine - The School of MedicineCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Scientific Advisory Board, United in CompassionSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Management, Operations and Marketing, Faculty of BusinessUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  4. 4.Australian Health Services Research InstituteUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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