Australia’s flower shortage means patients could be waiting months to get their prescriptions filled. Cannabiz editor-at-large Rhys Cohen asks what’s going on.
Australia is in the midst of a serious medicinal cannabis flower shortage.
Hundreds of patients are being told their prescribed medicine is unavailable, and it could remain that way for weeks or possibly months to come. The shortage is so widespread that even patients who have been approved/prescribed multiple flower products in tandem, specifically to protect against supply interruptions, have been left out in the cold.
In an industry that has experienced more than its fair share of issues, the current shortage stands out for several reasons.
Previously, shortages have tended to only impact one or two major suppliers or product lines at a time. These shortages force patients to book new appointments with doctors, who must then apply for new approvals and/or write new prescriptions for an alternative product. These interruptions can cost patients hundreds of dollars in consultation fees, and leave them without their necessary medication while an alternative product is secured.
The current flower shortage has hit almost every Australian distributor simultaneously. This means very few alternative flower products are available. And the few that remain in stock will likely soon be exhausted.
According to the industry members who spoke with Cannabiz for this story, there are several issues relating to both supply and demand which are responsible for the current situation.
All the companies Cannabiz spoke with agreed that demand for flower has increased significantly and unexpectedly, even alongside the growth of demand for medicinal cannabis products overall.