OTC cannabis at CWH

Jack Gance, Chairman and co-founder Chemist Warehouse Group, and Tommy Huppert, CEO Cannatrek.

A medicinal cannabis company has entered an exclusive deal with Chemist Warehouse, as low-dose cannabidiol goes S3

Cannatrek Limited made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that it will supply the discount giant with medicinal cannabis products and services to treat conditions including pain, inflammation, anxiety and insomnia.

Under the agreement, Cannatrek is set to work with Chemist Warehouse to develop and bring new products to market, including low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) products on an exclusive basis under one of the Chemist Warehouse brands.

The move follows a TGA final decision in December 2020 to downschedule certain cannabis products from Prescription Only to Pharmacist Only, coming into effect on 1 February 2021.

“The decision will allow low-dose CBD containing products, up to a maximum of 150 mg/day, for use in adults that have been approved by the TGA, to be supplied over-the-counter by a pharmacist, without a prescription,” the TGA said at the time.

“The decision limits over-the-counter supply to only those products that are approved by the TGA and included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

It noted that at the time, no TGA-approved medicines were listed on the ARTG which met the S3 criteria.

Under the agreement, Cannatrek is set to train and educate Chemist Warehouse pharmacists about the benefits, any potential issues, and applicability of medicinal cannabis products for a range of illnesses including, but not limited to pain, inflammation, anxiety and insomnia.

Under the agreement, Cannatrek also intends to install iPads or similar devices in Chemist Warehouse stores to provide an instant touchpoint to consumers’ enquiries about their eligibility to access medicinal cannabis.

Cannatrek will also become Chemist Warehouse’s exclusive telehealth partner for medicinal cannabis, working alongside its current general telehealth partner, Instant Consult.

Tommy Huppert, Cannatrek CEO, said the agreement with Chemist Warehouse represents an exciting evolution in the growing medicinal cannabis industry, and is a game-changer for both Cannatrek and Australian consumers.

“We are thrilled that Chemist Warehouse has seen the value in entering a strategic partnership with Cannatrek as its medicinal cannabis partner,” he said.

“It means that not only will we provide Chemist Warehouse with low-dose CBD products to be sold to consumers over-the-counter given the recent decision by the TGA, but we will work with them to develop new products.

“The ultimate winner will be Australian consumers, who will get access to high-quality medicinal cannabis products via a visit to Australia’s largest pharmacy chain, which has Australia-wide distribution.”

Mr Huppert said his company would continue to educate Australian doctors about the benefits and limitations of medicinal cannabis.

“We will continue to run education programs in Australia together with our partners including Chemist Warehouse. This is all about raising the comfort factor among doctors and specialists in Australia, to make medicinal cannabis more mainstream and available to patients.”

Jack Gance, Chairman and Co-Founder of Chemist Warehouse, said the partnership with Cannatrek is an important step for Australia’s largest pharmacy group.

“We are firm believers that the creation and dispensing of over-the-counter medicinal cannabis products is a natural progression for Chemist Warehouse,” he said.

“I am delighted that the TGA has agreed to allow CBD to be sold over-the-counter in a controlled environment via pharmacies.

“Unfortunately, CBD’s reputation has been tarnished over the years,” Mr Gance said.

“Importantly, CBD has medical properties without the level of psychoactive properties of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“We are delighted to be able to be leaders in this area, selling therapeutic CBD over-the-counter in our pharmacies. Our goal is to be able to provide the best, safest and best priced medications to help our loyal customer base.

“We have seen what has been happening in this space in the USA and Canada; it is important that we partner with a reliable medicinal cannabis producer with whom we can work to develop new products.”

Mr Gance also said that it is important to the group to sell Australian made products.

Cannatrek is currently growing product at scale under permit at its facility in Brisbane and has plans to “dramatically” increase production from its proposed facility in Shepparton, Victoria. 

“Cannatrek represents a reliable supply partner for us, and we hope to sell its products into other countries in the future,” Mr Gance said.

Cannatrek’s agreement with Chemist Warehouse covers Australia and New Zealand, but may be expanded to include stores in China, Ireland and other countries where Chemist Warehouse operates.

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