Pro-reform Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter believes ‘we are winning the argument’ on access to medical cannabis.
Speaking at Prohibition Partners Live, the clinician and politician said he believes policymakers are listening but that the machinery of government is doomed to be slow-moving when it comes to change.
Appearing in a discussion alongside Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi and Drug Science founder Professor David Nutt, Poulter argued for Whitehall reform to speed up the process.
He said: “The concern for me is you still find a concern among politicians generally about the conflation of cannabis in medical use and the wider criminal justice issues.
“We’re beginning to win that argument and move the debate to a more sensible place but there is still that backdrop.
“I think we’ve got to be frank that because of Covid, and though we want to go much faster, the Department for Health has had other priorities.
“We need to put our foot on the accelerator now…and look at those barriers that are still in place.”
He added: “This conflation of criminal justice issues with broader medical issues need to be wrestled away from Home Office and Ministry of Justice and make sure it’s a health issue, that’s the biggest challenge.
“We’ve got to move this completely away form those government departments in Whitehall that are linked to prohibition and drug control and move it to healthcare regimes.
“I think we are winning the argument but we now need to see the mechanics put into place.”
Antoniazzi said she believes ‘the mindset of the public is changing – but the government isn’t coming with us’.
The Welsh MP wondered if the British government is hesitant because liberalisation in the medical sphere might ‘lead on to other conversations’ about wider use.
She said: “Every step the government makes is in the right direction…all be it very slowly.
“They are worried about opening the floodgates to a market and world that they can’t regulate and control and that is the concern they have and I just think it’s a great shame.”
Antoniazzi added that finding support in Westminster can be ‘like hitting your head against a brick wall’ but that it is coming to the surface.
She said: “The support is there, cross-party…the willingness and ability to change things on the regulatory side. There are massive stumbling blocks and we’re working hard to identify what they are.”
Panaxia to expand its Malta production plant with $6m investment
Panaxia’s investment in the country is a “milestone” for Malta’s medical cannabis industry, says Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise.
Israel-based Panaxia is set to expand its medical cannabis production facility in Malta and will export its first products to Germany in the coming weeks.
Panaxia is set to deepen its connection with Malta as it plans a further expansion to its local production plant now the company has obtained its EU-GMP licence.
The company received an official license from the health authorities in Malta to manufacture finished medical cannabis products in May, 2022.
The news of Panaxia’s $6m (~£4.95m) investment was announced during a visit to Panaxia’s Ħal Far plant by Malta’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli.
Panaxia aims to enrich the Maltese production portfolio with products aimed for both Europe and Latin American markets. To do this, its Malta facility will diversify into an array of products ranging from the production of tablets, oil and extracts, as well as carrying out clinical trials, stability experiments and research and development.
Minister Miriam Dalli described Panaxia as an early success story for one of Malta’s newest economic niches.
Minister Dalli commented: “Malta Enterprise has been in discussions with Panaxia since the early days after the enacted legislation in 2018. Today, Panaxia is only marking the start of its actual production, but it is already planning an expansion in its facilities.
“This is another milestone reached for our medical cannabis industry – an industry which further enriches our wider pharmaceutical sector. Malta is the ideal location for such operations, whereby specialised products are developed for the global healthcare supply chain.”
CEO of Panaxia, Dadi Segal, commented: “I am impressed with the role of Malta Enterprise in their support to our Malta team at Panaxia on various levels, not just the financial assistance but also the constant communication and facilitation.
“We had to build this facility from scratch and the process was long but soothed through Malta Enterprise’s constant guidance.”
Panaxia also operates from locations within the United States, Canada and South Africa, and is currently in the process of registering products in Portugal, Greece, Poland and Brazil amongst others. Its range of pharmaceutical products, over 60 in all, are mainly based on cannabis plant extracts and treat a variety of ailments including nausea, anxiety and depression.
Groundbreaking agreement to supply Czech patients with cannabis extracts
The agreement will enable Czech pharmacies to prepare personalised medicines for patients.
Prague-based pharmaceutical company, Motagon, will be the first company in the Czech Republic to supply medical cannabis extracts to patients.
Motagon has secured the agreement with Europe’s biggest indoor cannabis producer and one of the first cannabis extracts and formulations producers Phcann International.
Phcann International is an EU-GMP vertically integrated, multinational pharmaceutical cannabis company headquartered in Warsaw, Poland with an established footprint portfolio of countries like UK, Germany, Poland, Italy, Israel, Portugal, Australia and Brazil.
Through the agreement, Czech cannabis patients will now be able to access Motagon’s dried cannabis flowers and extracts to treat a number of health conditions including neuropathic pain, spasticity in multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, vomiting and nausea in the context of conventional cancer treatment, complex palliative care, or treatment of symptoms in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Additionally, Czech doctors are extended the option to work with an effective form of cannabis medicines, namely standardised extracts with more precise doses of CBD and THC cannabinoids.
With the extracts, pharmacies will be able to prepare personalised medicines for specific patients, including creams and gels for topical application, oils and capsules for oral consumption and rectal and vaginal suppositories.
Motagon’s chairman and executive director of Heaton, Motagon’s parent company, Jaromír Frič, commented: “We are extremely pleased that in a relatively short period of time we have managed to commence the import, sale and distribution of high-quality medical cannabis to pharmacies in the form of dried flowers, but our aim from the start was to offer more effective forms such as extracts to Czech patients as soon as possible.
“I believe that doctors and especially patients will appreciate this fundamental change, as well as the fact that there will be a broad extracts portfolio with a wide array of THC-CBD formulations, targeting a wider range of patients.
“I would also like to express my great appreciation to our team at Motagon who have successfully managed to comply with all the legislative requirements of the regulatory authorities.”
Motagon CEO Jan Mehner, has stated that the range of extracts on offer should cover the needs of the vast majority of cannabis patients in the Czech Republic:.
Mehner commented: “We plan to immediately introduce extracts with high THC content and a group of balanced THC-CBD extracts, allowing us to target patient populations that aren’t responding to treatments from existing traditional medicines.
“We’ll then broaden our portfolio (and patient base) to include high CBD and balanced products with a slight predominance of THC or, conversely, CBD.”
Phcann International CEO, Zlatko Keskovski, commented: “The agreement with Motagon will provide both companies with the first mover advantage in the Czech market where we will be able to set and implement the highest standards of quality and consistency that will meet expectations of the Czech patients.”
The first cannabis extracts are expected to be available in Czech pharmacies as early as September 2022.
Swiss CBD investment company secures £26.23m funding
Pharma Tech Holding has obtained a capital commitment agreement from LDA Capital.
Pharma Tech Holding SA has secured a CHf30m (£26.23m) investment from global investment group LDA Capital Ltd – with expertise in cross-border transactions including the agriculture, Agri-tech, and CBD industries – which will support its portfolio investments.
Pharma Tech Holding SA invests in innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, agri-tech, and functional food.
The CHf30m investment from LDA Capital will allow the company to invest and support its portfolio company Blue Sky Swisse SA, which focuses on the extraction of natural active principles from vegetable matrices, vegetable waste, and renewable sources to deliver B2B products under the form of CBD oil, terpenes and waxes.
The factory, located in Biasca, will be built with state of art of extraction technology using supercritical CO2, and will be self-sufficient through the use of solar photovoltaic panels and district heating.
CEO at Pharma Tech Holding, Sabina Del Nigro, commented: “We’re thrilled with this partnership and are so glad that LDA Capital recognises the value of Pharma Tech Holding and its portfolio company, with the aim of creating one of the most innovative hubs for health-tech, agri-tech and functional food.”
Blue Sky Swisse will make high-quality CBD due to a proprietary extraction process, starting from the farming, performed under strict control and culminating with the immediate freezing of the flowers after harvest.
It will also sell “all natural” formulations to increase bioavailability and will invest in the agricultural raw material chain, as well as creating an aeroponic greenhouse in Ticino, to deliver a high-quality GMP pharmaceutical CBD oil.
LDA Capital agreed to commit an amount of up to CHf30m in cash within a maximum of three years. This Capital Commitment will be released based on drawdowns by Pharma Tech Holding, which Pharma Tech Holding has the right to exercise at its sole discretion.