KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 – Malaysia’s existing laws and regulations on drugs do not require any amendment for cannabis-containing products to be legally registered for medical use.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told Parliament that current legislations that regulate cannabis and its by-products in Malaysia, including the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Poisons Act 1952 and the Sale of Drugs Act 1952, do not prohibit the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
He said parties that have sufficient scientific evidence on the safe and effective use of a cannabis product for medical treatment can submit an application to the Drug Control Authority for evaluation and registration under the Controls of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984. Upon registration, the product can then be marketed in Malaysia.
“As such, there is no need to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 as the existing Act does not prohibit the use of products containing cannabis for the purpose medication and is subject to compliance with the requirements set out under other regulations, namely the Poisons Act 1952 and the Sale of Drugs Act 1952,” Khairy said in a written parliamentary reply on December 2. Khairy was responding to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo’s question on the matter.
The health minister said a cannabis-containing product for medicinal purposes can be imported, sold, supplied, and used in Malaysia if it is in compliance with legal requirements.
These requirements stipulate that the product must be registered by the Drug Control Authority and that importation, as well as wholesale sales of the product, are carried out by licensed importers and sellers respectively.
The retail sale or supply of the product for the medical treatment of certain patients can only be done by a medical practitioner registered under the Medical Act 1971 to the patient, or by a registered pharmacist with a Type A license to certain individuals based on prescriptions issued by a registered medical practitioner.
CodeBlue previously reported that Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) had once approved a prescription medicine derived from cannabis in 2014 to treat muscle spasms and spasticity from multiple sclerosis.
But Sativex — an oromucosal spray of a formulated cannabis extract with cannabidiol (CBD) as well as THC, the psychoactive chemical component in cannabis — was taken off the Malaysian market three years later as it was not commercially viable. Sativex was developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, a maker of cannabinoid therapeutics based in Ireland.
This means Malaysia currently has no registered marijuana-based treatment. Khairy last month formally acknowledged the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in the country.
However, the Malaysian Association for the Study of Pain (MASP) said there is still a dearth of evidence from high-quality research to endorse the general use of cannabis for the treatment of pain.
Some conditions for which cannabis-based treatment has been advocated include epilepsy, neuropathic pain and chronic widespread pain as well as appetite problems, nausea and vomiting and pain in cancer patients.