European cannabis manufacturer FoliuMed has completed the largest ever shipment of medical cannabis from Colombia to Australia.
This is the first of two shipments which will enable its customers to supply around five per cent of the Australian medical cannabis market: the world’s biggest after North America and Germany with 100,000 patients.
FoliuMed has manufacturing operations in the German city of Limburg, cultivation facilities in Columbia and holding company offices in Madrid.
Founder and CEO Oliver Zugel said the move would allow the supply of medical cannabis to Australian patients “at less than half the cost compared to local production“.
Australian wages and energy prices are among the highest in the world, meaning producing affordable medical cannabis locally has proven hugely challenging.
Patients pay over 200 Australian Dollars (£114) for a monthly dose, available only under prescription, unlike in Germany, for example, where cannabis is covered by health insurance.
“This limits access to medical cannabis to the well-heeled or those willing to take the risk to buy more cheaply from the black market,” said Zugel.
FoliuMed’s shipment consists of pharmaceutical cannabis ingredients produced at its Colombian cultivation site at the foothills of the Andes.
“With ideal climatic conditions, our energy consumption is minimal and we grow the plants organically,” said FoliuMed co-founder and LATAM CEO Diego Felipe Navarro.
“Our teams in Colombia and Germany have worked for over a year with our customer, the health authorities and the Colombian government to ensure we adhere to the strict quality standards imposed by the Australian drug regulator TGA.”
The TGA recently further increased the quality demands on medical cannabis imports making them comparable to how pharmaceutical products must be manufactured locally and in Europe.
“Given our German operations are EU-GMP certified, we offer Australian importers a full range of affordable solutions compliant with the new regulations,” said Zugel.