DVA considers funding medicinal cannabis on a case by case basis in accordance with DVA’s medicinal cannabis policy framework.
A treating doctor is able to make a submission to DVA to fund Medicinal Cannabis, on a veteran’s behalf.
Funding for medicinal cannabis can be considered in cases where veterans have had other treatment for a medical condition accepted and funded by DVA. This includes Gold or Orange Card holders, or White Card holders with an accepted condition, or non-liability healthcare.
DVA may consider funding medicinal cannabis for its clients only under circumstances when:
- the amount of cannabis taken is determined by clinical need;
- the treatment is supported by several high quality scientific studies with very few or no credible opposing findings that it is effective in treating the condition;
- first line treatment (if available and appropriate) for the condition has been attempted and has failed;
- the treatment is legal, i.e. it is consistent with Commonwealth, State, and Territory laws (DVA would require a copy of relevant approvals);
- the treatment is listed under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, unless approval is sought from the Therapeutic Goods Administration under the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Schedule; and
- DVA has received a written assessment from the treating specialist that medicinal cannabis would clinically benefit the patient and
- the specialist has advised the patient of potential contraindications;
- the specialist has undertaken a suicide and mental health assessment and determined there is no increased risk from medicinal cannabis on suicide ideation or mental health;
- and the patient has no current substance use disorder and has low risk for substance use disorder.
DVA will decline funding for medicinal cannabis when:
- The submission is for a mental health condition.
- There are scientific findings that the treatment may not be effective or safe.
- DVA card eligibility criteria is not met.
- The treating medical specialist relevant to the medical condition being treated has not provided written assessment and support for the medicinal cannabis to be prescribed.
- The medicinal cannabis product being prescribed is to be compounded by a pharmacy and does not have a TGA approval for the product.
If the funding submission is approved by DVA, the treating doctor must contact DVA to arrange an Authority prescription via the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
The RPBS Authority prescription for the medicinal cannabis can be supplied from a pharmacy that can dispense RPBS items at the concession rate.
The concessional co-payment of $6.60 (in 2020) is required to be paid to the pharmacy each time the Authority prescription is supplied through the RPBS.