London, UK – Tuesday 12th February 2019 – Australian medicinal cannabis company Althea Group Holdings Limited (Althea) has today launched in the UK bringing its significant heritage as an experienced supplier of cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM). This launch comes following changes that allow specialist doctors to prescribe CBPM to certain patients from 1st November 2018.
Althea MMJ UK Ltd (Althea UK) will initially be supplying CBPM through its strategic partnership with Aphria, a global cannabis company who have already collaborated with health systems around the world. Althea UK is already working with prescribers in the UK and expects to be supplying products from March 2019.
Althea’s Australian production facility is projected to be operational for 2020 and the company expects that the UK will create a second significant distribution channel for Althea’s Australian grown and manufactured products. Recent research suggests that from a population of 66 million people, that CBPM could be suitable for up to 2.9 million UK patients.
Althea CEO, Josh Fegan, said: “Althea’s mission is to facilitate the appropriate provision of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it can improve patients’ lives. The UK Government’s positive regulatory change represents another major milestone in the advancement of medical cannabis around the world. We look forward to collaborating with UK health authorities and healthcare professionals (HCPs) to share our extensive experience in providing cannabis-based products for medicinal use to tackle unmet medical needs across a range of conditions and disease areas.”
Aphria President, Jakob Ripshtein, said: “We’re proud to be one of the first Licensed Producers to support patients in the UK with access to high-quality medicinal cannabis products following the recent legislation change through this extension of our strategic partnership with Althea.”
UK patients can only be prescribed cannabis-based products for medicinal use by a specialist doctor on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register. The Department of Health and Social Care has asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to produce a clinical guideline on the prescribing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use, expected by October 2019.
Althea UK will also be launching Althea UK Concierge, to provide medical education resources for HCPs and guidance on how to access Althea UK products.
Althea CEO, Josh Fegan, added: “Concierge provides comprehensive medical education for healthcare professionals, including clinical evidence, in support of Althea UK products. The platform streamlines the registration process and facilitates patient referrals from primary care doctors to Althea UK specialist prescribers.”
Medical education will be outsourced under an exclusive partnership with specialist medical affairs partner, Ashfield Healthcare, similar to Althea’s Australian operations.
Since entering the Australian market in May 2018, 93 registered HCPs are now prescribing Althea CBPM to more than 328 patients across Australia, representing around 20% of the total market.
About cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM)
Current guidance from the NHS states that medical cannabis in England is only likely to be prescribed for the following conditions when other treatments weren’t suitable or hadn’t helped:
- children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy
- adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy
 Department of Health and Social Care. 31st October 2018. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/letter-guidance-on-cannabis-based-products-for-medicinal-usepdf . Last accessed: February 2019.
 Prohibition Partners, The European Cannabis Report, January 2019, 4th Edition, p.83