Colombian producer Foliumed has fulfilled its first export order for an Australian licensed producer in a move which founder and CEO Oliver Zugel claims will make medicinal cannabis more affordable and help it move from a niche to a mainstream treatment.
Zugel said FoliuMed and other Colombian companies can cultivate and extract cannabis at less than 1/10th of the cost of producers in North American or Australia.
He added while these producers were previously hampered by the lack of EU-GMP certification or TGA 93 compliance, this is no longer the case.
Writing exclusively for Cannabiz, Zugel said: “Celebrating its fifth anniversary, remarkable progress has been made in the Australian medical cannabis industry in terms of regulation, patient access and awareness.
“However, to fully unlock their potential, cannabis medicines need not only be efficacious and available, but also affordable.
“At over A$200 for a monthly dose and without insurance reimbursement, Australian patients pay more for their medicine than anyone in the world.”
Under the export arrangement, Foliumed worked with the local producer – a publicly listed company with its own cultivation and GMP extraction capability – to formulate a primary ingredient which it can process and purify as a starter material under its own Australian GMP manufacturing authorization.
Zugel said the arrangement lowers operating costs for importers by more than 50% and saves significant investment in cultivation infrastructure.
He added: “No longer are imports a necessary evil, they are providing opportunities for Australian licensed producers to rethink their supply chain and consider outsourcing options for their cultivation and extraction operations.”
“For patients, the arrival of low-cost medical cannabis means that soon they will be able to buy their monthly dose for less than A$100.”
Established in 2018, Foliumed’s 16-hectare cultivation facility outside Bogota is located at an altitude of 8,000 feet, with a constant temperature of 15°C. This and its proximity to the equator means the plants receive ultra-high solar radiation, boosting the production of terpenes and cannabinoids. It has the capacity to process 100 tonnes of biomass a year.
As well as Australia, the company exports to the UK, US, Germany, Chile and Peru.