New Zealand

Local cannabis availability piques NZ pharmacists’ curiosity

Nearly 1,500 New Zealand doctors and pharmacists have now registered on – a dedicated and comprehensive medicinal cannabis information service.

The surge in interest follows a recent Zoom series of educational presentations organised and hosted by The latest one titled ‘Medicinal Cannabis: A pharmacist’s perspective’ featured James Yu, charge pharmacist and co-owner of Ngā Hua Pharmacy in Hamilton.

“James is one of New Zealand’s leading medical voices in this area and has arguably processed more medicinal cannabis prescriptions than anyone in the country. Since promoting his presentation, a significant number of pharmacists have joined MCinfo which is great for Kiwi patients,” says Don Budge, director of DATAPHARM which built and runs MCinfo.

Registration to MCinfo is free for doctors and pharmacists with Mr Yu’s presentation, and others, now uploaded for those registered to view.

“James is focused on raising awareness on the potential of medicinal cannabis by educating other pharmacists and doctors about it. He’s also keen to remind Kiwis that quality New Zealand-made CBD products are now available at considerably less cost,” says Mr Budge.

While only MCinfo-registered doctors and pharmacists can access the prescribers’ portal, anyone can access MCinfo’s up-to-the-minute information on the use, potential benefits and risks of CBD, THC, and other medicinal cannabinoid products. - image 1

“It’s good to see more of New Zealand’s over 3,500 practising pharmacists familiarising themselves with medicinal cannabis. Helping them spark into action is the fact that patient enquiries have increased since Kiwi-made products come onto the market last year. With demand only set to grow, we’re calling on other healthcare professionals to register on MCinfo,” he says.

Mr Budge says it makes sense for pharmacists to upskill on medicinal cannabis as they’re often the first port of call for enquiring patients, and doctors also quiz them.

“To give the appropriate advice, it’s critical that pharmacists understand medicinal cannabis. What’s more, improving professional knowledge helps remove barriers for patients keen to learn more about it or access a prescription,” he says.

Education sponsor of MCinfo is Helius Therapeutics – New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis company. It too says prescriber knowledge is key to improving patient access.

“We’re thrilled greater numbers of Kiwi healthcare professionals are now registering with this invaluable online service. With more local patients asking questions, it’s great that doctors and pharmacists are increasingly curious and seeking the very latest information on this new and exciting frontier of care for New Zealand,” says Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics.

As the first local cannabis business to be awarded a GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines last year, and set to export later this year, Helius is proud to back initiatives that better support the country’s healthcare professionals.

Ms Doran says the provision of a single trusted source of information with real-time access to ongoing global medicinal cannabis developments is critical for a country that has only relatively recently enabled all GPs to prescribe medicinal cannabis for any health condition.

As well as the likes of Zoom presentations, dedicated resources for healthcare professionals include MCinfo’s clinical fact sheets. These are constantly revised with the latest data available in specific therapeutic areas.

In addition to the virtual resources MCinfo provides, and having reps visiting doctors, MCinfo will again have a stand at GPCME (General Practice and Medical Conference Exhibition). GPCME North will be held in Rotorua this year from 9 to 12 June.

“At the last Independent Pharmacy Conference and GPCMEs, our MCinfo stand attracted considerable interest from delegates. Now that we have local manufacturers licenced to produce medicinal cannabis, more affordable local products available, and patient enquires at an all-time high, we’re expecting MCinfo registrations to only grow,” says Don Budge.


Contact: Don Budge – DATAPHARM director – 027 585 5513 or [email protected]

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