Two New Import Deals Hurry Medical Cannabis Into Australia

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It’s been almost two years since Australia legalized medical cannabis, but for many patients, access to critical, cannabis-based medicine is still impossible. Restrictive licensing and scheduling schemes, confusing overlap of state and federal regulations, and a lack of training within the medical community have combined to keep the system stagnating.

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle, however, may be finally falling into place: distribution. This month, two Australian companies announced deals to distribute cannabis-based medicines in the country.

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Melbourne-based HL Pharma announced last week that it will commence sales of Satipharm medical cannabis products to Australian patients with appropriate prescriptions. Satipharm, a Swiss pharmaceuticals manufacturer owned by Harvest One, will distribute medical cannabis in the form of Gelpell CBD capsules. The capsules use proprietary dose delivery technology which, according to Harvest One, has favourable bioavailability in comparison to the spray delivery method of competitor Sativex.

“The combination of controlled production of the raw materials, GMP processing into a pharmaceutical grade product and clinical testing proving safety and efficacy has made it possible to bring this unique product after years of R&D to Australian patients,” Andreas Gedeon, CEO of Harvest One, said in a statement.

Satipharm’s product has completed Phase I clinical trials and will be tested for efficacy in treating refractory epilepsy in children and spasticity symptoms in multiple sclerosis patients. The results of the Phase I trials were recently published in Clinical Pharmacology in Drug Development.

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The Hydroponics Company (THC) announced that it, too, would be importing European cannabis medicines after signing a distribution deal with Endoca BV. Initial products imported to Australia under the deal will include CBD oil, capsules, and a product including CBD and CBDA oil.

CEO David Radford described the deal as an “important milestone for THC.” The company’s stock price recently leapt after an announcement that it had secured a license for subsidiary Canndeo to cultivate and produce medical cannabis.

“Canndeo’s strategy to bring the world’s best medicinal cannabis products and knowledge while building Australian production and supply capability has reached an important milestone,” Radford said in a statement. “Canndeo is very pleased that Australian doctors and patients will soon be able to access these very high quality products.”