Bottles of cannabis oral solution were delivered to Buenos Aires National Children’s Garrahan Hospital in Argentina. The purified, highly concentrated, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oil is for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy —when an individual can’t remain seizure-free after two trials of antiseizure medications.
Secretary of Access to Health, Sandra Tirado said it’s “the first time a derivative of nationally produced cannabis” is available for patients. The first shipment of the solution will treat 14 kids.
Medicinal Cannabis Program Coordinator Marcelo Morante stated, “The quality of a standardized product in a pathology that really conditions the quality of life of our families, accompanied by a doctor or by a hospital of reference in refractory epilepsy, is the path that will lead us to the improvement of this disabling pathology.”
In over 80 percent of cases, cannabis has been proven to improve patients’ quality of life. The drug also reduces the number of seizures by a reported 60 percent. Previously, cannabis oil had only been available to participants in research protocols in refractory epilepsy.
The long-awaited delivery came as a result of Law 27,350, passed in 2017, but not regulated until November of 2020.
President Alberto Fernández has permitted pharmacies to sell cannabis-derived oils and other products. Medicinal cannabis was once a costly import for patients, now public and private insurance companies must cover the cost for patients’ prescriptions.
It was a hard fight won by advocates in Argentina. “We’ve been fighting for this for three years,” said Valeria Salech, who’s the head of Mamá Cultiva, which is an Argentine organization that promotes medical marijuana. “We’re no longer going to be criminalized for seeking a better quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones.”