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Price warning as cannabis producers prepare over-the-counter CBD products for 2023

Australian medical cannabis companies are ploughing millions into research in a race to bring the first over-the-counter CBD product to pharmacies, with the sector expecting stock to hit shelves next year.

However, consumers have been warned to expect prices for these medicines to be higher than in other countries like the US and UK and could run into the hundreds of dollars a month.

While no current prices are yet to be set for any Australian over-the-counter medicines, for a product that contains 150mg of CBD, patients could be paying $7.50 per day, or $230 a month. Medicinal cannabis products are already available in Australia via prescription, but the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) changed regulations at the end of 2020 that would let pharmacists dispense low-dose products that contain up to 150mg of CBD, an element of the cannabis plant, without a prescription.

Fifteen months on, no product has yet received TGA approval, but industry experts are predicting several companies will have lodged data for these medicines by the end of this year, paving the way for sales in 2023. Chief executive of biotech Emyria, Michael Winlo, said companies are now getting to “the pointy end” of the research process.

Emyria, which is backed by Andrew Forrest’s Tattarang, has launched clinical trials for an over-the-counter pill containing a low dose of CBD which is designed to help treat psychological stress.

Mr Winlo said he was confident the medicines regulator wanted to approve the nation’s first pharmacy CBD products swiftly, but said they would be looking for strong evidence that treatments worked.

“We want to be pioneers and tread new ground - but we need to run a very careful study and put our argument [for approval] together very carefully,” he said. Despite strong demand from Australian patients for the products, Mr Winlo said consumers should be prepared for the reality that these products will have a higher price point many other pharmacy-only medicines.

“I think that’s going to take people aback. It will be comparable to what they have to pay today for a [medicinal cannabis] prescription,” he said.

Products like CBD oils are currently priced according to the number of milligrams of CBD they contain, with patients paying around 5 cents for every milligram.

Emyria chief executive Michael Winlo says companies in the medicinal cannabis space are carefully working to deliver evidence of their products to the TGA.

While no current prices are set yet for any Australian over-the-counter medicines, for a product that contains 150mg of CBD, patients could be paying $7.50 per day, or around $230 a month.

Interest in cannabis products has boomed in Australia over the past decade as a multi-billion industry of developers sprung up across the country.

Melbourne-headquartered Cann Group recently launched a phase 3 clinical trial study of a pill to treat short-term sleep disturbances.

“We believe we will be well-placed to submit our dossier [of evidence] in October 2022,” Cann Group COO Shane Duncan said.

“We believe mid-to-late 2023 [is when we’ll] see the first products launched and we are planning to launch our product within that time frame.”

The TGA is currently accepting applications from companies wanting to register low-dose products.

“Sponsoring companies can now lodge an application to the TGA for inclusion of Schedule 3 CBD preparations on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Applications are individually evaluated for safety, efficacy and quality,” the regulator said in guidelines for companies. Originally published here:

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