Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Helen Kelly's letter

74 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • Hilary Stace,

    As far as I am aware there is an active clinical ethics group at CCH DHB. Some of the members gave presentations at last year's Bioethics and Health Law conference in Wellington mentioning some of the issues that had come up for them. Good people, who I'm sure would be happy to help.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to ThoughtSpur,

    I don't know the cause of Ms Kelly's lung cancer. Often it is a direct result of smoking cigarettes. The government of New Zealand sanctions the use of tobacco products that cause dramatic and negative effects on the population's health and wellbeing. It has a conflict of interest in that it also produces substantial revenue from taxes and excise duties on the sale of the product.
    How curious it has such a pious attitude to cannabis - when the science overwhelmingly shows cannabis is exponentially less harmful or costly than tobacco (and alcohol - which also has a free ride).
    Give the woman a break. She's fatally ill.
    It's hard not to make the corelationship between the government's opposition to Kelly's application because, well, she has publicly opposed them on trivial matters like workplace safety and zero-hours contracts - which may be unfair but where there's smoke, maybe there's fire man.

    I doubt it's personal political vendettas. I'd say it's just old-fashioned patch protection from Big Tobacco, Big Booze, Big Pharma, and Big Prisons.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So this is what we’re up against. And it’s what makes pinning it all on Dunne such a distraction. New Zealand’s drug policy has improved about as much as it can with the law-reform fatwa in place.

    What’s driving this? Based on previous experience, is this poll driven behaviour to the extent that the current government could flip-flop if it thought it were at risk of losing support over the issue? Or is it really some kind of unbreakable ideology from those at the top? Or is it something else again, like foreign relations with the Federal US war on drugs?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • JC Carter,

    The best manner to get National to change their minds on this policy is , 1) have labour include it as one of their policies, 2) have national think this change for labour will result in votes.

    Space • Since Sep 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    An aside: wondering if anyone has noticed that Peter Dunne (minister of the Crown, associate health minister with responsibilities for drug policy and all that) has publicly backed regulated sales of cannabis? No other party, including Labour or the Greens (the later now only support a review of our drug law), has gone that far. Why this isn't bigger news surprises me greatly.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Strewth to Power...

    Eagleson called Power and said, literally, ‘Don’t you fucking dare.’

    Bloody Eagleson, another one of the far too influential people we never actually voted into a position of full 'power'.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    An aside: wondering if anyone has noticed that Peter Dunne (minister of the Crown, associate health minister with responsibilities for drug policy and all that) has publicly backed regulated sales of cannabis?

    Got a link for that, Ross? I'm well aware that Dunne isn't the rabid prohibitionist people believe him to be, but it would be handy to have that in the conversation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    He’s pondered aloud numerous times that he supports using the PSA to regulate cannabis. Most recently in a twitter exchange this past weekend. Am trying to upload a screenshot of that chatter (ah, it worked).

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    The Minister is basically trying to create a process and precedent for prescribing and dispensing cannabis in a regulatory vacuum. He can't change the law/regs because the Government isn't interested, so he is working with the tools he has. This requires a significant investment of time, effort and political capital, so it is going to be slow and messy and even if it does work, the major beneficiaries are likely to be cancer sufferers who come after Helen Kelly. It's a bit like Dr Johnson's (notoriously sexist) quip about a dog walking on its hind legs - it is not done well but one is surprised to see it done at all.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    I thought I would repost something here that I posted in the first article about Helen Kelly, and my own take on the Government's behaviour in this area.

    "It’s Big Pharma.

    As part of my research work in cannabis, a few months ago I was asked to review a white paper by a group opposing cannabis legalization in the US state of Vermont. The white paper was a response to a RAND Corporation study examining the likely impacts of legalization on the health of Vermont residents, as well as economic impacts for the state. The RAND study presented several compelling arguments for legalization that I won’t repeat here, but the white paper did little to rebut those arguments.

    Out of curiosity I looked into the organizations that had provided the funding for the group opposing cannabis legalization. There are in fact two major lobbying organizations in the US (one of them was behind the white paper in question), and both are funded in large part by the pharmaceutical industry.

    I would think this sheds all the light needed on the reasons for this government’s total opposition to decriminalization."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If Curia says that's the case, things will change.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a government that based policy on data and greatest benefit rather than using the reality TV popular vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Russell,

    The Minister is basically trying to create a process and precedent for prescribing and dispensing cannabis in a regulatory vacuum. He can’t change the law/regs because the Government isn’t interested, so he is working with the tools he has.

    I do get that. But I think it has to be done better than it has been with the current criteria, which have been developed without consultation or transparency and are in some respects not fit for purpose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to JC Carter,

    Except if your drinking your drug.

    Or your son is selling a substitute for drugs.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Russell, have you sent your request to the Ombudsman? I got to the point, with NZTA, of simply copying the Ombudsman on every communication, NZTA were so obstructive.

    Geoff Noller (and others) - always record your phone calls (it's legal and you don't have to tell them - s216 of the Crimes Act) and follow up a phone call with an email reiterating what was said. I've had officials tell bald-faced lies about phone calls. I rarely ring anymore, always using email or a physical letter.

    I weep for what our Public Service has been reduced to, in serving the Key government. Bolger/Shipley may have cut budgets to the bone and below but at least they didn't tell us what we had to say in the same way, and respected policy advice they didn't like. Sometimes they ignored it and did what they wanted anyway. But Key's ministers are dictating the policy and demanding that the advice be structured to support it.

    I have reliable information that Tony Ryall instructed the agencies under his purview not to put anything in writing to him, accepting only verbal briefings, just so there was no OIA paper trail. NZTA never logged Joyce visiting their building, even though they posted a press release about one such occasion. I'm pretty sure these practices are commonplace among Key ministers.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Russell, have you sent your request to the Ombudsman? I got to the point, with NZTA, of simply copying the Ombudsman on every communication, NZTA were so obstructive.

    MoH have been quite nice and my request might be a bit of work, I'm not sure.

    But I have politely reminded them that today is the due date :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Anyway, a related OIA response has just popped up on FYI.

    It includes the number of applications for medical cannabis received by the minister or ministry (120, with 105 granted), but that number includes Sativex.

    Also: Regulation 22 (covering ministerial approval) is to be reviewed this year and regulations around approval for Sativex are being review at the moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    In my experience Pat Tuohy, who signed that letter, is one of the good people in the Ministry of Health. Paediatrician by background. But it is often hard for public servants to be true 'public servants' these days, as the ministers' needs come first.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    15022016114648-0001.pdf

    My OIA arrived on time!

    I have to go out soon so I can't read it closely now, but I’ve uploaded it with this comment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    There's a conundrum here right: we want our drug policy decisions to be made on good evidence (vs ideology); Minister Dunne is trying to do that (the medical cannabis science is still very contested), and we get grumpy at him for it.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hot take before I have to go out:

    The criteria were drawn up in light of the Alex Renton case and are principally based on a Rapid Assessment by Stewart Jessamine, which strongly emphasises the view that medical cannabis products should ideally only be considered when they are on a "pharmaceutical pathway" – i.e., being trialled like any other drug.

    But it's also clear how tightly the criteria are tied to the Renton case and "the challenge of expanding use of CBD..." (which is news to me). There seems to have been a determination to make the criteria tough to meet.

    It seems pretty rich of the ministry to fault Helen Kelly's doctor for failing to seek peer review from palliative medicine specialists when, as I suspected, the ministry itself barely considered palliative care. This really needs work.

    They also say they found no evidence to challenge the view that Sativex is "desirable and divertible". Which is odd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Ross Bell,

    e: wondering if anyone has noticed that Peter Dunne (minister of the Crown, associate h

    That was an eye opener for many I'm sure, William Rea (KiwiCannaseur) felt quite pleased with himself extracting that statement from him.

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "I’ve said before I think this is how any campaign has to go: to make the issue a political liability for the government. If Curia says that’s the case, things will change."

    Ive pondered hiring curia once the MCANZ charity is off the ground to survey this issue, use Nationals Pollster to strike some motivation into them on the issue, got quotes early last year, prices are fairly reasonable.

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They also say they found no evidence to challenge the view that Sativex is “desirable and divertible”. Which is odd.

    Indeed. In fact this line (page 36) suggests that the Ministry adheres to the goverment's documented philosophical objection rather than any evidence-based criteria.

    Sativex is considered to be a desirable and divertable pharmaeutical due the the inherent nature of its active substances.

    Considered.. by whom? Wayne Eagleson perhaps? Or Mike Sabin in a previous life? The OIA document does not make this clear and provides no references to back up this assertion. In fact the manufacturer's own information completely contradicts this view.

    There is no evidence to suggest that Sativex® produces a ‘high’ comparable to recreational cannabis.

    I've said this before but it's worth repeating. No recreational cannabis user is going to pay $1,000 a month for a 2% THC product when the raw product is considerably cheaper (per dose) and several times more effective.

    People who have never used cannabis might find that reality difficult to grasp. But seriously, the only people who need access to medicinal cannabis are sick and/or dying. And they deserve a good deal more compassion than our state currently provides.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Alfie,

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21542664 a study on Sativex abuse potential

    the best bit "Tolerance has not occurred, abrupt withdrawal has not resulted in a formal withdrawal syndrome, and no cases of abuse or diversion have been reported to date."

    Sativex really ought to be cut down a peg from Class B1 to something Class C, Codeine is far more dangerous and open to abuse......

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They also say they found no evidence to challenge the view that Sativex is "desirable and divertible".

    Not so. See paras at top of p3 of the cover letter. Looks like they missed a 2013 reference, and are committing to review and revise that aspect of the offical advice. Says "no other" references were found, not none.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.