Kanabo Group says the potential for cartridges in the UK is “significant”
England could be the first country in the world to allow prescription e-cigarettes, following an announcement made back in October 2021 that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be inviting manufacturers to submit products for approval.
In October 2021, the MHRA, the executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK, published updated guidance on the steps required to licence an e-cigarette as a medicinal product in the UK. The new guidance is expected to pave the way for doctors to prescribe vaping devices to people who want to quit smoking - that is if it proves effective.
The updated guidance - under ‘Guidance for licensing electronic cigarettes and other inhaled nicotine-containing products as medicines’ - followed a consultation with the E-Cigarette Expert Working Group, a group of UK experts who provide oversight and advice to the MHRA.
Within its guidance, the MHRA also provided further details on the steps required to licence an e-cigarette as a medicinal product. It outlined that to achieve a licence, products would need to ‘meet the standards of quality, safety, and efficacy expected of medicinal products.’
If successful, this would potentially allow safe and effective products to be made available for prescription, for tobacco smokers who wish to quit or reduce smoking, the agency outlined.
As stated in the Department of Health and Social Care 2017 Tobacco Control Plan, evidence has clearly shown that Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can help people to stop smoking, and are similarly effective to other cessation options. In line with this evidence, the MHRA said they are committed to improving the public’s access to safe and effective licensed products.
Professor Alan Boobis, emeritus professor of toxicology at Imperial College London and Chairman of the UK Committee on Toxicity, said: “Licensed vaping products will have to meet a defined standard set by the medicines regulator, the MHRA, and in return they will be available to clinicians to prescribe to their patients, which will be an important step forward.” Commenting on the updated guidance, Dr June Raine,
Chief Executive Officer of the MHRA, stated: “The evidence is clear that e-cigarettes are less harmful to health than smoking tobacco and that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking for good.”
She said, “The updated guidance on licensing requirements we have published today is a strong first step towards availability of safe and effective licensed e-cigarette products.”
She added that the MHRA will “continue to support companies in the development of safe and effective e-cigarette products” while at the same time, it will encourage the licensing of e-cigarette products as medicines “in order to support patient-centred care and access.”
The updated guidance could be positive news for companies like Kanabo Group which earlier this year became the first medicinal cannabis firm to IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
The Israeli-based medicinal cannabis company has developed and launched the first medical cannabis vape formula in the United Kingdom aimed at initially targeting pain management.
VapePod, which is based on a formula developed and tested in Israel, has been produced in a certified GMP medical facility in full compliance with ISO13485, a standard that is often seen as the first step in achieving compliance with European regulatory requirements.
“Cannabis has gained legitimacy and recognition as a powerful source of relief for a number of ailments, but smoking as a delivery mechanism does not present a viable solution. In contrast, inhalation through vaporization dramatically improves the degree and rate of absorption of all the beneficial medical compounds in cannabis,” the Company detailed.
The Company believes that by providing high bioavailability and exhibiting rapid onset, its VapePod can deliver cannabis-based treatments “more safely and simply than ever before.”
At 70% THC, the purity of the end product makes it amenable to use in the handheld device, which also allows doctors to administer the medication via precision micro-dose, it outlines.
In doing so, the company said VapePod can provide a more effective method of delivery than compared with smoked cannabis, ‘without the health implications, and allows accurate data to be collected by researchers developing effective treatment regimens at the same time.’
In July 2021, Kanabo passed a significant commercial milestone with the shipment of its first medicinal cannabis cartridges to the UK. At the time, it stated that these cartridges were to be sold by the LYPHE Group’s clinics and dispensaries and to be used with its VapePod device.
But for now, only patients at LYPHE Group’s clinics can access the new products. LYPHE Group’s UK ecosystem includes The Medical Cannabis Clinic and Dispensary Green.
In July 2021, Kanabo Group’s CEO, Avihu Tamir said the news represented a major milestone not just for Kanabo but for the European cannabis industry. He stated that this was the first time this type of technology will be available in the medical market outside of North America.
Currently, patients in the UK can only use cannabis in two forms: oral consumption or smoking marijuana flowers. “It’s the first device to have a metered dose so a physician can prescribe a specific dose just like they would for a pill,” Tamir told Yahoo Finance UK.
Since cartridges are the fastest-growing segment of the cannabis industry in North America, Tamir expects this category to be “significant in the UK.” He said devices VapePod will enable patients in the UK “to move away from the harmful habit of smoking medical cannabis flowers.
Tamir commented: “Any research that helps patients has to be welcomed. Kanabo started its commercial life by addressing the issue of developing a device to deliver a reliable and repeatable metered dose of medicinal cannabis to help patients combat their ailments.
He added, “The Company’s proprietary VapePod is now a class-leading medical device available in the UK. As the UK’s regulatory framework outlines a higher entry barrier for the industry, the global vaping industry will witness a more standardised and concentrated market where industry leaders, such as Kanabo, will further strengthen their leading positions.”
Last month, Kanabo told investors that it had finished the majority of its due diligence work as part of its proposed acquisition Materia, a European-focused medical cannabis and CBD firm.
Materia is an independent processor and distributor of medical cannabis and CBD wellness products focusing on the European market, with subsidiaries in Malta, Germany and the UK.
The Board believes that Materia’s complementary infrastructure will be crucial to expanding and strengthening its existing supply value chain of medical cannabis and CBD products.
Kanabo said it will acquire direct entry into the German market, which was valued at over €200m last year, and is anticipated to remain the dominant market as the European market grows to a forecasted total size of €3.2 billion by 2025, according to Prohibition Partners.
According to reports from Reuters, Materia’s main focus to date has been on the German market, with Executives calling it “market number one, two and three” back in May 2021.
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