Authorised in Portugal, and arriving in pharmacies about a year ago, the first and only cannabis-based preparation is currently only being prescribed to less than 20 patients.
One year after the approval and marketing of the first and only cannabis-based preparation authorised for use in Portugal, around 500 packets have been sold in Portuguese pharmacies, costing 150 euros per packet. According to an analysis by “Jornal de Notícias”, taking into account that there are patients who use between three and six packets per month, less than 20 patients are benefitting from this treatment.
“It is not expected that therapies using the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes will be prescribed to thousands of patients nationwide”, explains Tilray, the company responsible for the drug. According to data reported to Infarmed, Tilray reported the sale of 548 packages of dried cannabis flower with 18% THC (cannabinoids) in Portugal, in this 12 month period.
“We have many people who tell us that there is a lack of knowledge and resistance from doctors when prescribing”, said Carla Dias, president of the Portuguese Observatory for Medicinal Cannabis (OPCM). A package of the product costs 150 euros and can be used in seven therapeutic indications : spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, appetite stimulation in palliative care, nausea and vomiting in oncological or Aids treatments, chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy and glaucoma.