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Drug companies bring cannabis-based medicine to Canada

By Hempology | November 12, 2003

From, November 7th, 2003

Toronto: GW Pharmaceuticals (GW) and Bayer HealthCare, Pharmaceuticals Division – Canada (Bayer) announce a marketing agreement to bring Sativex(R), GW’s cannabis-based medicinal extract product, to the Canadian market.

Sativex(R), has been developed by GW to provide a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical product for the treatment of the debilitating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and severe neuropathic pain. The product is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract containing Tetranabinex(TM) (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) and Nabidiolex(TM) (cannabidiol or CBD) as its principal components. The medicine is administered by means of a spray into the mouth. Bayer HealthCare AG obtained exclusive rights to market Sativex(R), in the UK in May 2003 at which time Bayer also secured an option to negotiate the marketing rights in selected other countries. This new agreement for Canada is the first such extension concluded under these option arrangements.

Approximately 50,000 people in Canada are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Pain occurs in 80% of MS patients and 20 to 50% report experiencing significant pain (O’Connor 2002). A Canadian survey of patients with neuropathic pain found that 73% had inadequate pain control (Boivie 1999). Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman of GW, said, “I am delighted to be announcing a further extension of our partnership with Bayer, as envisaged at the time of our original agreement earlier this year.

“Over the last few years, GW has held positive discussions with officials in Canada regarding the introduction of Sativex(R), and we look forward to working with Bayer to bring Sativex(R), to market in Canada at the earliest opportunity.” Philip Blake, President and CEO of Bayer Inc., said, “We are pleased to partner with GW to bring this innovative cannabis-based product to the Canadian market. We believe that Sativex(R) can make a substantial difference in the lives of patients with MS and those who suffer from neuropathic pain.” GW plans to submit a New Drug Submission for Sativex(R) to Health Canada in the near future. GW submitted a product licence application for Sativex(R), to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in March 2003.

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