EDITION:

Boost For Danish Medical Cannabis Patients Following Canntrust Scandal

FOLLOWING a two-and-half-year break oil products have returned to the Danish medical cannabis access programme in a move which is likely to provide a boost to the faltering scheme.

After getting off to a strong start with patient numbers hitting 2,000 in 2019 the scheme stalled after the oil products provided by domestic firm Stenocare were taken off the market.

With patient numbers now down to around 1,500 it is expected they will once again start to rise, with those favouring cannabis oil products once more able to secure their preferred medicines.

Stenocare CEO Thomas Skovlund Schnegelsberg says it expects the new product will be available for patients during the first quarter of this year, pending international import and export certificates.

Trial Period Extended

He said: “The announcement strengthens our position as the first mover and only provider of cannabis oils to the Danish Pilot Programme. This underscores our position as clear market leader in Denmark.”

The challenge for many patients in the last few years is that only three products containing dried cannabis have been approved by the Danish Medicines Agency (DMA) and made available for patients. 

Consequently there is a need for oil products that offers a different method of administration the medical cannabis for patients.

The re-admission of oils to the programme also marks the beginning of a new four-year trial period and comes at the same time as new rules allow domestic companies to produce and cultivate cannabis and cannabis medicines beyond the end of the new trial period, in 2026.

Leading European cannabis analyst Conor O’Brien of Prohibition Partners believes these developments will provide a boost to medical cannabis patients in the Scandinavian country.

He said: “The loss of Stenocare oils from the experimental scheme in Denmark had a large impact on the cannabis industry. Many patients began sourcing their medical cannabis from magistral preparations (extracts and isolates prepared in pharmacies) or switched to pharmaceutical products like Epidiolex when this hit the market in 2020. 

Strict Regulations

“However, many patients seem to have left the legal cannabis market after the loss of cannabis oils from the Pilot scheme, with patient numbers reducing by over 20% 12 months after the event. 

“The reintroduction of oils will be a welcome development for many patients in the country, although it remains to be seen how many patients will return to using these oils after switching to alternative treatments.”

The disruption to the supply of cannabis oils in 2019 was the result of the Health Canada identifying that several batches purchased by Stenocare from Canadian producer Canntrust had been cultivated in non-approved facilities.

Health Canada subsequently suspended parts of Canntrust’s licence, leading Stenocare to terminate its collaboration with Canntrust and halt imports.

Mr Schnegelsberg said the number of patients grew rapidly from 300 to around 1,100 after introduction of the oil products boosting Stenocare sales in the first five months of 2019 to MDKK 4.4 (around £500,000).

No other oil products have been approved by the DMA in the interim and Stenocare is currently working with the DMA to have further two oil products approved for the Pilot Programme – a CBD oil, and a mixed THC-CBD oil.

Mr Schnegelsberg added: “The Danish regulatory regime is acknowledged as being by far the toughest to pass in Europe. This is only achievable because of our experienced regulatory team and our supplier, AgMEDICA Bioscience, is capable of meeting the requirements of the Danish Medicines Agency.”

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