September 14, 2020

Germany: Insured medicinal cannabis sales worth €75 million in the first half of 2020

3min read

New data just released from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) shows continued year on year growth of the German medicinal cannabis market, despite signs that growth may have slowed down in the last few months. However, cannabis flower now makes up less than half of total sales, as sales of full-spectrum extracts and magistral preparations with Dronabinol increase.

September 14th, 2020

Conor O’Brien


The GKV, whose members cover the public insurance of 90% of the population, has just released its data on the number and type of cannabis medication sales for Q2 of 2020. As we reported earlier, the market saw a bumper sales month in March, likely owing to stock-piling efforts in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown. Following this, we now see a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of sales, with overall sales 40% higher than H1 of 2019.

The likely reasons for growth include the increasing numbers of doctors and patients willing to leverage cannabinoid medications for a range of conditions, including pain and multiple sclerosis. This trend is likely to continue into the near future as more patients become educated on the benefits of cannabis medications and as their use becomes further normalised. On top of this, medical practitioners can rely on an increasingly secure supply of medications as well as a more established consensus on the medical benefits of cannabinoids.

While sales are up year on year, there are signs of a possible slowdown in growth as sales in Q2 were not significantly different from those in Q1. This could be due to a number of factors including the general slowdown caused by the lockdown, or an emerging seasonal trend, as H2 of 2019 was considerably stronger than H1. It should also be noted that the sales figures from patients currently paying for their own cannabis medications, outside of public health insurance schemes, is not currently known.

All products still imported

In July, we reported that cannabis imports to the country had risen 63% for Q2 of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 in response to delays in domestic production. The first domestic harvests from the three licensed companies Aphria, Aurora and Demecan are not expected until 2021.

The vast majority of imports of cannabis to Germany currently come from the Netherlands, which is facing potential supply shortages in the coming months due to COVID-19. However, more and more producers are gearing up to supply the German market, which should plug any gaps in supply as well as placing downward pressure on the price of medications in the country. For example, Alcaliber in Spain has recently had its German import application approved by the BfArM. Elsewhere, companies such as Clever Leaves in Colombia and Pharmacann Polska in North Macedonia have received EU-Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certifications, which should see the companies being approved for import to Europe in the not too distant future. This is aside from established producers which are currently expanding their production and export capacities in key locations such as Israel and Portugal.

Cannabis flower sales now in the minority

In June, we reported that sales of cannabis flower products were in decline as a percentage of total sales. We now report that cannabis flower products make up just under half of total sales, at 49.8%, with the remaining sales being made up of products such as extracts and pharmaceutical products. Magistral cannabinoid preparations and Sativex contribute 30% and 14% of overall H1 sales respectively.

The trend towards the use of extracts mirrors the developments of mature markets such as Canada, where oils and capsules are becoming more and more popular, possibly due to product familiarity and dosing precision. In the mid-term, we expect to see full-spectrum extracts continue to grow, as ample supplies of outdoor-grown cannabis from abroad, which may not be sold as flower in Germany, are channelled into the market via GMP-certified extraction facilities, which process them and render them as legally marketable products. Germany’s supply of dronabinol is similarly set to increase, as Canopy Growth’s C3, which was previously the sole supplier of the cannabis-based medicine, is challenged by the addition of Cantourage, which began supplying dronabinol to the market earlier this year.

For more in-depth information, consumer data and strategic support, contact the Prohibition Partners consultancy team at info@prohibitionpartners.com or download one of our industry-leading reports.

 

Germany: Insured medicinal cannabis sales worth €75 million in the first half of 2020

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