Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
Two Canadian cannabis companies are among a mere handful of businesses to be providing cannabis-related products for a medical marijuana trial in France involving 3,000 patients.
After being judged on product, manufacturing and supply criteria, both Tilray and Aurora Cannabis made the cut. Like the other companies involved in the pilot project, all medicine will be supplied free of charge to both the French government and the participating patients.
The hope is to shed light on how effective cannabis can be in treating conditions such as neuropathic pain, certain drug-resistant types of epilepsy, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and the side effects of chemotherapy.
To help brighten effectiveness, France’s National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) last week announced the final list of companies tasked with supplying the medicines.
Calling Tilray’s inclusion “another milestone” as it expands operations in Europe, CEO Brendan Kennedy voiced pride “to be able to offer access to a variety of high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products to the ANSM while supporting patients in need in France.”
Company officials “fully appreciate the stakes of this experiment for French patients, and we are determined to contribute to its success actively,” Sascha Mielcarek, Tilray’s general manager for Europe, adds in the statement.
All company products are Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP)-certified, will be sourced from Tilray’s GMP-certified facility in Portugal and will be supplied over the course of the trial, expected to run for 18 to 24 months.
“Providing high-quality, medical cannabis dried flower to the French pilot program is the first and very important step towards providing better access and will support the destigmatization of medical cannabis in France,” Dr. Axel Gille, president of Aurora Europe, said in a statement from the company.
French law currently classifies cannabis, cannabis resin and THC as narcotic drugs. With regard to medicinal marijuana specifically, “France doesn’t offer a program that authorizes its use,” marijuanadoctors.com points out, with Motley Fool adding that since France “has yet to develop a domestic source of medical marijuana, the program is relying upon foreign sources of cannabis” for the experiment.
Last fall, French government officials announced the medical cannabis trial set to begin this March will involve 3,000 patients. All products available as part of the trial, which will be overseen by France’s Ministry of Health and Solidarity, were expected to be smokeless, such as cannabis oils, tinctures and capsules.
To ensure sufficient products would be available, both main and substitute suppliers were secured. For the Canadian companies, Aurora is set to supply three lots as a main supplier and Tilray will provide two lots as a main supplier and two as a substitute supplier, according to Marijuana Business Daily.