First DHB funded Sativex

A post from MZaNZ:

BREAKING NEWS: First Patient in NZ Successfully funded for Sativex by DHB

A woman who may have otherwise died from her regular severe seizures has been granted approval for medical marijuana funding.

Alisha Butt, 20, has the mentality of a toddler and is unable to speak.

Her seizures had presented a huge problem for specialists who were unable to adequately treat her, leading to the possibility she could end up in a coma from one and die.

But thanks to medicinal marijuana extract Sativex, Alisha is able to live a more comfortable life.

“Since being on Sativex for over 4 months, she has shown a great improvement,” mum Sushila Butt said.

“Her seizures have decreased immensely and now, after long last, Alisha has been able to enjoy a better quality of life without the disturbance of erratic and continuous prolonged seizures.”

A big relief to see a significant improvement.

Then, in September, Alisha was approved by the minister of Health to receive Sativex – which contains Cannabidiol with Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis – but the family had to fund the $1000-a-month treatment themselves.

It wasn’t until January 22 that the Government agreed to fund the medicinal marijuana as a prescription.

“It’s completely covered now,” Sushila said. “It will be fully funded for my daughter.

A funding breakthrough. Until now Sativex wasn’t funded and was costing something like $1000 per month, too much for many parents.

Full post at MCaNZ:

Leave a comment


  1. Good news.. BUT Sativex is still not being funded by Pharmac. I saw a TV report that in 2015, 31 patients were approved Sativex in Aotearoa/NZ (about twice as many in 2014)
    The evidence is increasingly clear that Cannabis does have genuine therapeutic/medicinal value (regardless of what the ‘nay-sayers’ still say).

    It is time Dunne & Co. pull their heads out of the sand & ‘cut the reefer madness CRAP’ about the danger of ‘marijuana’.. btw this is a slang word, its proper name is CANNABIS !

    Its 2016 not 1961.. 😦

  2. The key thing in this case was that Sativex was wildly successful in reducing the burden on the health system, and Sativex was cheaper than the alternative of not funding Sativex.

  3. Rob

     /  28th January 2016

    About time. I can imagine the alternative drugs they were using were even more expensive. $1000 for sativex is still expensive coming from a plant that will grow wild without a problem and the ease with which oils can be extracted. But, at least it’s a start. Good on Helen Kelly as well for helping to bring it more out in the open.

  4. Robby

     /  28th January 2016

    “Alisha Butt, 20, has the mentality of a toddler and is unable to speak.”
    Poor girl, it would suck to be her. I don’t even want to imagine how hard it would be to have a child in this state. In a case like this I fail to understand why the “psychoactive properties” of cannabis need to be removed. It’s not like they will make her miserable existence any worse. For $1000/month, her family could purchase 3oz of good quality weed on the black market, which is far more than even the most ‘acclimatised’ pothead could get thru alone. I’m not sure what a vaporiser costs, but it is a one off purchase. The law is a complete ass….


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