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Is Luxembourg Heading for a Medical Cannabis Shortage?

As reported by Newsweed.

Luxembourg legalised medical cannabis in February 2019 and has regularly faced shortages ever since. This time, a change of medical cannabis supplier is to blame for a potential shortage.

Alerted to the impending crisis, Pirate Party MP Sven Clement recently brought the issue to the fore during a parliamentary session. In a direct question to Luxembourg’s Health Minister Paulette Lenert, MP Clement underlined the urgency of the situation, stating that ‘only cannabis oils are currently available’, pointing to a worrying shortage of medical cannabis in its other forms.

Minister Lenert acknowledged the problem, explaining that the shortage is attributed to a change in the supplier of cannabis flowers. She revealed that the contract with Tilray, the previous supplier, ended on 3 August 2023. In May of the same year, a new tender was launched and won by Schroll Medical, a Danish pharmaceutical company.

To bridge the transition period between suppliers, a large order for medical cannabis was placed in July. However, this order did not materialise, leaving the country in a vulnerable position.

Minister Lenert explained: “The order has not arrived and the new cannabis supplier also needs some time before it can supply a sufficient quantity. The cannabis flowers are produced specifically for the Luxembourg market”.

She said that further deliveries of medical cannabis were expected at the end of October and in November.

In the meantime, Minister Lenert has given assurances that there are sufficient stocks of cannabis oils, which should enable the supply shortfall to be made good. However, the situation has sparked discussions about the need for a more stable and resilient supply chain for medical cannabis in Luxembourg.

The shortage is also a direct consequence of the growing demand for medical cannabis, with prescription rates rising in recent years.

In 2020, one year after the legalisation of medical cannabis, Luxembourg patients were prescribed 140kg of cannabis. By 2021, this figure had doubled to 283 kg. The country had already had to make emergency purchases of several dozen kilos of medical cannabis at prohibitive prices to make up for the lack of stock.

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