4C LABS has officially received a specialist clinic licence from the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC), enabling it to launch virtual health clinics in the coming year.
In a company announcement it says it received its National Specialist Medical Licence on December 9, making it the first company in the UK to receive both this and a medical cannabis cultivation licence.
In late November, the 4C LABS became the first and only company to be awarded a medical cannabis cultivation licence in Guernsey.
The company says its 4C LABS Health Clinics, which will operate under separate governance to its cultivation arm, will begin operating across the UK and Channel Islands by July 1, 2022.
4C LABS CEO Greg Dobbin told BusinessCann the licence means the company can ‘put the whole business plan into play now’.
“I think we’ve definitely, through example, shown that the bar actually has to be quite high to execute a strategy. I think what this has meant is that the next company to come along are going to have to live up to an equal standard, or they’re going to have problems for sure.”
Mr Dobbin says supply from its cultivation facility ‘will be at end of Q1 2023’, while ‘clinics, third party products and distribution will begin on July 1, 2022. So there’s a gap between them for sure.’
In the meantime, the clinics will be ‘bolstered by importing third party products that are distributed through Guernsey into the UK’.
“We have supply agreements that we’re working on with a couple of different manufacturers, including one already in place. We have plenty of third party products that we can distribute.”
Mr Dobbin said he could not disclose who these suppliers were, or whether they were from the UK.
Once the company’s production facility is up and running at full capacity, Mr Dobbin says it will ‘absolutely’ continue to offer third party products so it can offer lower cost options.
“I don’t think that we’re going to find a mid-tier flower that we’re going to be able to produce cost effectively. So I think for patients to have a lower-cost option it’s always going to have to be something that is a third-party product”.
Although the company says it ‘can now operate’ as planned, there are a number of hurdles which still need to be overcome before it can begin accepting patients.
The first is finishing the development of its proprietary software for its virtual clinic platform, which represents ‘about five months of work starting January 1.’
The next is securing its ‘pharmacy and distribution licence’ so that it can ‘jump into business’ and begin distributing third party products by July 1.
Finally it needs to continued the development of its doctor app, which will give its medical staff instant access to data on their entire patient roster, including which ones are having trouble with their medication enabling them to immediately adjust accordingly
It will be based around a proprietary IT platform which will enable both patients and doctors to access automated scheduling, one click records retrieval and digital prescriptions.
4C LABS Health Clinics will be entirely virtual, offering patients online consultations with its medical staff.
It has also been designed to ‘dramatically reduce the time between consultation and prescription delivery’, with patients who meet eligibility criteria receiving next day delivery on their cannabis prescriptions.
“In Canada, the time from first click to appointment was roughly a month and a half at the beginning, which is a timeframe that it’s running across the United Kingdom at the moment.
“With us from first click your time to appointment is probably going to be less than a week. And the time for when you see your doctor until you have a prescription is next day.”
Mr Dobbin explained that 4C LABS intention was to build a modern clinic suitable for the ‘post-COVID world’.
“When you go to a clinic in the UK, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, it’s quite an antiquated process of ‘Hello, can I get an appointment?’, prescriptions written by hand, etc.
“So we’ve attempted to, within a post-COVID or during-COVID world, speed up the process by introducing slick online booking, follow up appointments, text messaging, where we go back to a person to get feedback on how they’re doing.”
The Step System
This model has been dubbed ‘The Step System’, designed to give patients an easily accessible framework for understanding dosage and prescriptions.
The Step System will also includes a patient feedback system, which 4C LABS will use to compile data and inform its product formulations to treat specific conditions.
Aside from medical cannabis prescriptions, patients will also have access to referrals to counsellors, psychologists, physiotherapists, dieticians and other health care professionals.
“Once the doctor sees the person, maybe there’s some medical cannabis prescribed for nighttime sleep, but then there will be flagged follow ups.
“So a nutritionist will call and say, ‘hey, the doctor says you need to lose 40 pounds, so let’s work on that. A physiologist calls and says, ‘hey you need to lose 40 pounds how are we going to work on that?’
“And using the clinic in that environment now allows the doctor to see all the feedback from the different people that approach the patient after.
“It allows the doctor to see what the patient’s improvement level is, and then in subsequent appointments actually gives the doctor the ability to affect change in the person’s life rather than just writing a prescription and sending them out the door.”