Last week the Argentinian Minister of Health announced plans to broaden the scope of its medical cannabis programme, three years on from establishing a regulatory framework for the medical and scientific use of cannabis.
The draft regulations have not been published in the official gazette yet but were presented by the minister in a meeting with key stakeholders. The government is listening to demands from patients and advocacy groups, in order to allow patients to home-grow medical cannabis and share crops among multiple patients.
Most importantly, the list of allowed indications of medical cannabis will be expanded to include all patients which could benefit from cannabis treatment and the number of specialists registered to prescribe cannabis will also be increased.
In practice, this will drastically increase accessibility and has the potential to set the stage for the sustained growth in patient penetration as observed in other nascent markets like Germany or Australia, where over two-thirds of the prescriptions are for chronic pain.
Three pathways to the supply of medical cannabis are proposed:
- Special importation, as had been occurring with CBD since the 2017 law was approved. On top of the import of finished products, the Minister announced that importation of raw materials to be further compounded in a magistral pharmacy, will also be allowed, aligning the Argentinian model with many European schemes, like Germany.
- Allowing self-cultivation of medical cannabis at home under authorisation for patients included in a special registry. Collective growing by associations will also be allowed.
- State-controlled production of cannabis oil, although the details of this scheme are still unclear.
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