GW Pharmaceutical: The Medicine Monopolisers?

01st, Mar 2017

It may come as no surprise to those in the know about CBD, that the private monopolisation of this non-toxic, powerful substance has begun.

Online CBD seller Leafly, reported last week that British drug manufacturer GW Pharma and its American subsidiary, Greenwich BioSciences, are “quietly” trying to move proprietary bills into two states over in America. If the bills are passed, it will give GW a temporary monopoly on legal CBD sales in South Dakota and Nebraska.

The bills are centred around GW’s controversial Epiodolex drug, a CBD-based drug that’s been developed to treat pediatric epilepsy and is currently in Phase III clinical trials. If the drug is FDA approved and GW’s bills get passed, they will be the only company allowed to legally sell a CBD product in both states.

Now this raises many causes for concern:

  1. The bills will block other readily available CBD products currently being used by critically ill patients. Epiodolex has been developed to treat various types of paediatric epilepsy, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome but what about other types of epilepsy or epilepsy in adults? As with clothing or taste in food, medicine does not employ a ‘one size fits all’ methodology. In effect, CBD based products that are currently helping many critically ill residents in these states will be taken away and replaced with a single product that is only appropriate for a small percentage of patients.
  2. The bills presented by GW may take precedence over the millions of people who have been working tirelessly to get bills passed that support full medical legalisations of cannabis and CBD; but who haven’t got millions of pounds!

    With vast amounts of studies available regarding the benefits of these non-toxic products, the government should be looking at opening up access opportunities to CBD, not closing them down by giving legality to one sole trader.

  3. If the bills are passed in these 2 states, it may then lead to the company doing the same in other states. And then what about the UK? GW is a British drug manufacturer after all and naturally once the American CBD market has been swallowed up and privatised this commercial beast will be hungry for more. Is this how the privatisation of CBD starts? With evidence arising that the company are currently recruiting lobbyists in further states in the US, and many a state senator being seen backing them up, this is obviously further proof that money talks, actually it doesn’t just talk, it screams; and it screams louder than patients in pain crying out for the CBD products they desperately need.

GW are vehemently shrugging off suggestions they are trying to monopolise the CBD market stating that…

“Greenwich Biosciences/GW is not creating a monopoly. Rather, we are blazing a trail for any other CBD prescription medications that may follow since these regulations would not be specific to GW. In fact, it is likely new companies may be encouraged to enter the field of cannabinoid research, leading to a greater number of cannabinoid treatment options for patients, not fewer.”

Now, this all seems very honourable but the problem with this statement is that GW are lobbying for a bill that bans anyone else selling a CBD product unless it is FDA approved, and unsurprisingly, Epiodolex is the only product that is anyway near this approval.

So where does this leave us; and more importantly where does it leave patients currently relying on CBD products to help them improve their general health and wellbeing?

Do you think this is the start of the monopolisation of medicine by commercial pharmaceuticals? Does money talk more than a patient’s pain? Let us know your thoughts!

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