Australia recently announced that they were decriminalising both MDMA and psilocybin for psychedelic medical treatment to mixed reactions. Some hailed the progressive policy while others were worried that the government was acting prematurely.
As further information is released, there are now fears that the treatment will only be available for “people with money” with the cost to the patient possibly rising to $25,000.
Both psilocybin and MDMA will become available for medicinal use in Australia on July 1st. They will remain classed as a schedule 9 and therefore an illegal drug for all other uses in the country.
The law change was announced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia’s government authority for medicines. While the new laws allow trained and authorised psychiatrists to prescribe MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder or psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, the psychiatrist is expected to source the drugs themselves.
For a standard course of psychedelic treatment, the drugs are expected to cost between $1,000 to $2,000. This is hoped to be reduced when the drugs become supplied commercially. This is just one element of the cost of the treatment, however.
Most of the research published from clinical trials have traditionally had two psychologists present when the patient has consumed the drug along with further therapy sessions in the weeks after.
These clinical trials have had the approximated total cost of $20,000 and are conducted without profit in mind.
A further issue yet to be fully resolved is the training regime which allows a psychiatrist to become an authorised prescriber. No detailed guidelines have been published as yet, which likely means that come July 1st there will be a shortage of trained psychiatrists.
Despite the initial high cost, there remains hope from the psychiatric and medical industry that these costs will eventually come down. Much will depend though on the success of the treatment.
Early studies have been positive, but more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of psychedelic treatment. If confirmed then government subsidy could be forthcoming.
Another cost-reducing method would be to create the production capacity of the drug within Australia, thereby reducing any possible import costs.
When the option for this treatment becomes available on July 1st, there will likely not be many within the nation of Australia that can afford it. However, the results of those that do will certainly help and could prove key in determining the positive and negative effects of the treatment.