Bio/Pharma Outsourced Services Industry Report Q1 2019 - FDA-Approved Cannabinoid Therapies

Published on: 02/08/2019

In our third quarterly edition of our Institutional Industry Report on the Bio/Pharma Outsourced Services (BPOS) sector, we focus on the BPOS industry’s opportunities to support the development and manufacture of cannabinoid-based drugs. We hasten, however, to dampen any prurient interest in this topic by emphasizing that these drugs have no “mind-altering” effects and will not be available through the marijuana dispensaries popping up like flowers in the spring. They are, rather, what we once called “ethical,” i.e., prescription, medications and will be available only from pharmacies upon presentation of a prescription from a licensed caregiver.

Cannabinoid-derived therapies are based on chemical substances peculiar to and extracted from cannabis for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, or on their synthetic analogs; they have no measurable psychoactive effects. First and most importantly, these drugs have an important role to play in pain management compared with existing medications.  Of  particular  and  timely  interest,  two  unfortunate  properties  of  many  “traditional”  pain  medications make the rapid evolution of cannabinoid-based pain therapies  an  important  development:  (i)  the  tendency  of  traditional  medications  to  become  progressively  less  effective  over  time, prompting patients to increase their dosage, often without professional advice, and (ii) the addictive properties of those that are narcotics, particularly the many that are opiate-based. Consequently, the medical and social services communities are calling for accelerated development of cannabinoid-based pain therapies to stem the rapidly ascending usage of addictive, and potentially fatal, opioid medications.

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