Medibis CEO Angus Chapel says nurses will play a vital role in growing the industry, but companies must put patients before profits.

A few times a month, friends who know I’ve been building a cannabis business since 2018 ask me some peculiar questions, such as: “Are you allowed to have cannabis flower prescribed?” 

Medibis CEO Angus Chapel

It’s concerning that I still get asked those type of questions, but worse is the realisation that there are a lot of patients who are also not getting the answers, or the treatment, they need.

But at the recent United in Compassion Australian Medicinal Cannabis Symposium, it was clear some remarkable changes are rippling through our industry.  

An entire day of educational sessions aimed at nurses was easily the standout, with the passion they have for cannabis as a medicine clear to see. They are the ones who see patients every day, the devastation of severe opioid use, the horrible side effects, and the degradation of the quality of life of the patients they care for.  

Many I spoke to were hearing, for the first time, how the treatment is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, what their obligations are as caregivers, and how to incorporate medicinal cannabis, in all its various forms, into their patient management regimes.  

They’ve been largely left out of the discussion until now. These are our frontline caregivers and unless patients are self-medicating at home, it’s likely they will need a nurse to help them get it right. Contrary to common belief, dosing is quite complicated. 

So it’s pleasing to see nurses getting on board, increasing their understanding of dosing, the functions of the endocannabinoid system, and how to properly care for patients using cannabinoid-based therapies.  

“Unfortunately, we are seeing some aggressive behaviour, mergers and acquisitions, and a steely focus on growth and revenue.”

angus chapel

Meanwhile, some cannabis companies in Australia seem to prioritise profit over patient access and outcomes. There are those who are trying to dominate the market and position themselves at the top of the tree, with the highest market cap, the biggest margins, and the most control. 

Unfortunately, we are seeing some aggressive behaviour, mergers and acquisitions, and a steely focus on growth and revenue.  

Our focus should be to construct the solid platform upon which any new structure is built, with strong foundations, robust science, and patient pathways.

There must be a balance between growing your business and growing a new industry, investing in a sustainable future through research and product development.

The good news is there are companies out there who see the value in having a longer-term vision for the industry, a patient-centric business model, and in working together to benefit the sector and improve patient outcomes.