Cannatrek has withdrawn a flower product imported from Israel following a spike in complaints from patients.
The batch of high-THC Beersheba flower was “quarantined” and removed from sale amid concerns over the age of the biomass which created “aesthetics, moisture and aroma” issues, the company said.
However, Cannatrek insisted the batch – number 05522FLO1 – met TGA standards and that it was therefore a voluntary withdrawal and not a product recall.
Pharmacies holding the product were told they will receive a full credit with Cannatrek organising the return of the medicine.
Cannatrek said in a note to pharmacies: “Patients should be guided to return unused medication to the pharmacy that dispensed their medication.”
The firm also reassured patients and practitioners that the medication met TGO100 and TGO93 standards “and is thus safe for patients to inhale and eligible to remain in the market”.
Cannatrek told Cannabiz it investigated the 19% THC Beersheba batch after becoming aware of a spike in complaints.
“Cannatrek made the decision that it was not willing to offer patients this batch under the Cannatrek brand because the biomass is older than desired leading to poor presentation,” a spokesperson said.
“Since this was the only batch that Cannatrek had in stock the decision was made to withdraw the product.
“The product met the TGA standards and therefore it is not a recall.”
Asked to clarify its response to the complaints, Cannatrek said it initiated a “voluntary withdrawal in response to customer feedback around ‘jar appeal’ relating to aesthetics, moisture and aroma”.
“It conformed to the required quality standards as per the suppliers’ analytical verification/test results,” the spokesperson said.
The decision to withdraw the product was the “best outcome for Australian patients, the Australian medicinal cannabis market as a whole and for Cannatrek”, they added.
According to TGA protocols, where there are quality or safety concerns, regardless of compliance with a particular standard, the sponsor should notify the regulator to discuss possible recall actions.
However, Cannatrek insisted there were no product quality or safety concerns.
“Withdrawal was a voluntary marketing decision based on customer feedback around aesthetic presentation, not efficacy or safety,” the spokesperson added.
One patient, writing on the Canna Reviews website, said the product was “brown, tasteless, no terps… looks like it’s three years old”.
Another described it as an “ancient mess that smells like a dirty old cellar”.