Thursday, February 29, 2024

First locally-grown cannabis medicines approved

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Helius Therapuetics’ headquarters in East Tamaki. Photo supplied

East Tamaki business Helius Therapeutics has become the first New Zealand medicinal cannabis company to gain approval for products derived from locally-grown cannabis plants.

Chief executive officer Carmen Doran says the news is great for many patients who have long sought legal access to both New Zealand-grown and made medicinal products.

“Gaining approval of medicinal cannabis products that are truly New Zealand-grown and made is a significant milestone for our industry and another first for Helius.

“Local patients and their advocates have fought long and hard for truly Kiwi products which are both high quality and cost-effective.”

The Medicinal Cannabis Agency publicly advised on September 12 that both Helius CBD25 Full Spectrum and Helius CBD100 Full Spectrum products had been verified as meeting the quality standard – a requirement under the 2019 regulations before producers can supply the New Zealand market.

The latest products are first being launched in New Zealand and then will be exported around the world, with Europe and South America priority markets.

Doran says Helius is now actively seeking investment to accelerate its domestic and international growth plans.

Puro executive director Tim Aldridge says this is one of the most significant milestones in the New Zealand medicinal cannabis scheme to date. Puro signed a multi-million dollar supply agreement with Helius Therapeutics in January.

“Up until now, New Zealand patients could only be prescribed medicinal cannabis grown overseas, with the vast majority being imported from Australia and Canada,” says Aldridge.

“Now Kiwi patients can access cannabis medicine, which is grown right here in New Zealand, made from Puro’s organically certified crop.

Aldridge expects the availability of New Zealand-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis will increase access and affordability for Kiwi patients.

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