With two investments totaling 22m euros, the production and processing of pharmaceutical cannabis begins in Greece, with estimated first finished products expected to be around 1.5 years, since yesterday the first two licenses for installation were published.
By the end of this year, it can not be ruled out that another 12 investment plans have been given a green light, which would mean an overall investment in cannabis of 185-200 million euros and about 770 new jobs.
At the same time, procedures have been established to set standards for including formulations for pharmaceutical cannabis in the e-prescription system, but with the Minister of Health, with the exception of the possibility that they will be covered by insurance funds.
In particular, the first two installation permits, according to announcements yesterday at a joint press conference, Minister of Health Andreas Xantos, Deputy Minister of Economy and Development, Sterzhios Pizziolas and Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food, Mr. Vassilis Kokkalis, are being assigned the following companies:
1) BIOMECANN AE: This is an investment of 9.5 million euros, which will be held in Larissa and will produce dried flowers in the package. The unit will have an area of 10.73 acres and 51 jobs are planned. The company is listed in the General Commercial Register (GEMI) on February 26, 2018, and its main shareholder is Creative Properties and Investments Ltd. based in London.
2) BIOPROKAN AE: This is an investment of 12.5 million euros, which will be held in the Corinthian tower and will also produce dried flowers. The factory will have an area of 46.5 acres and has 66 jobs. The company is registered with GEMI on May 21, 2018.
Asked about the participation of the above mentioned companies, Mr. Sterzhios Pizzoras said that there is generally interest from foreign investors, with the funds coming mainly from Canada and Israel.
It should, of course, be noted that granting an installation license is an important, but not a single and last step. The investor should begin construction and completion of the plant within five years. Once the industrial unit has been completed and all supporting documents have been collected, it must submit a complete file to the General Secretariat for Industry Licensing Directorate. In order to be able to produce and sell medicines produced at its factory, the developer must also receive two approvals from the Ministry of Health, in particular the authorization for the production of cannabis medicines and the special approval of their marketing in Greece. It is positive that the relevant bylaws have been issued for the above.
For a month, finally, according to Mr Kokkalis, a revision of the legislation on industrial cannabis is expected, which is expected to include, inter alia, its use in nutritional supplements.
In 7 years, the world market will exceed $ 55 billion,
The global pharmaceutical market for cannabis is now estimated to be around $ 11.7 billion, and according to foreign surveys, it is projected to exceed $ 55 billion in 2025. Of course, this number will change because more and more countries will legalize the production, handling and marketing of medicinal cannabis products.
Today, with a heavier or less solid status, cannabis is legalized in 30 countries: Greece, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, FYROM, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Brazil, France, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland, as well as 33 US states.
Medical cannabis is thought to help treat and combat symptoms in several serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, while relieving chronic pain and reducing the side effects of chemotherapy undergoing cancer patients.
Today, in Greece, the import of pharmaceutical cannabis products is usually allowed, but as the Minister of Health pointed out yesterday, only some extraordinary imports are made through the Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Technology (IFET). The negative thing is that, as Mr. Xanthos mentioned yesterday, these preparations, regardless of their country of origin, will not be covered by insurance funds, which means that in practice access to low-income people will be difficult or impossible, in particular in the beginning there will be no intense competition.
Another key issue is the definition of basic recipes related to the prescription of these formulations, which also apply to manufacturing companies and the medical community. In particular, although from July last year Ministerial Decision 52588/2018 was adopted by the Minister of Health, which stipulates the conditions for production and trade of finished cannabis medicines, the following issues should be addressed: definition of indications and contraindications, pharmaceutical form, specialties of doctors who are allowed to prescribe them, etc. These questions are subject to a specific scientific committee recommended to the National Medicines Agency (EMA).