GW. friend or foe?

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Digit, May 23, 2003.


Is GW Pharmacueticals friend or foe of your average joe stoner?

  1. Friend

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  2. Foe

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  1. Source: The Daily Telegraph

    By Rosie Murray-West, City Correspondent
    (Filed: 22/05/2003)

    Cannabis-based medicines could be available on prescription in the UK by the end of this year after GW Pharmaceuticals signed a marketing deal with German drug giant Bayer yesterday.

    The deal gives Bayer exclusive UK rights to market Sativex, GW's cannabis-derived product for multiple sclerosis and pain relief, in return for £25m of milestone payments and a share of product revenue. The two companies are also negotiating over the rights for the EU and selected countries.

    Dr Geoffrey Guy, executive chairman of GW, said yesterday that the company was waiting for approval of Sativex from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). "We applied six weeks ago and haven't heard anything back yet," he said. "Nor would we have expected to."

    He said that the product could be available towards the end of this year. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence will also look at the drug to see if it should be prescribed on the NHS.

    Sativex is an under-the-tongue spray based on a whole-plant cannabis extract. Phase III trials for the drug showed an increased lack of nerve pain and spasticity, with a small number of side-effects.

    The company has already scaled up its cannabis growing, which is done under licence from the Home Office at a secret location, so that it can cope with the demands of manufacturing the product commercially.

    The law will not have to be changed for the product to be marketed, although some legislation will have to be "rescheduled", a process that is allowed for if a banned substance can be proved to have some medicinal benefit.

    The main ingredient in Sativex is an extract not present in cannabis in the form used for recreational purposes, and it does not have the effect of intoxicating the patient.

    It will be a while before the company launches the product in the US, because the drug regulator has indicated that it wants to see more trials before the drug is approved. Dr Guy has indicated that the company would need a development partner before it launches in the US.

    GW shares, which have risen from 81p last September, rose 2.5 to 243.5p yesterday, an all-time high for the company. GW is also conducting trials on a tamper-proof dispenser for methadone.

    This project is backed by the Home Office and aims to prevent the need for "shooting galleries" where addicts are injected with methadone under supervision to prevent misuse.

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