Foliumed has shipped the first of two large consignments of medicinal cannabis from its Colombian cultivation facility to an unnamed Australian recipient.

Foliumed founder and CEO Oliver Zügel

The firm, which also has a manufacturing operation in Germany, said the shipment consists of pharmaceutical cannabis ingredients with a shelf life of 18 to 24 months.

Founder and CEO Oliver Zügel told Cannabiz: “This is the first of two shipments which allow our customer to supply about 5% of Australian demand at less than half the cost compared to local production.”

Zügel said high wages and energy prices in Australia meant producing affordable medicinal cannabis was challenging for the local industry.

“This has become a big issue for patients who pay more than A$200 for a monthly dose, available only under prescription. This limits access to the well heeled or those willing to take the risk [and] buy more cheaply from the black market.”

He said the pricing of the shipment would reduce the cost of raw materials from 40-50% to around 10% of the final retail price, a saving which could be passed on to patients.

Foliumed co-founder and Latam CEO Diego Felipe Navarro said the Colombian climate meant the company was able to keep cultivation costs low, with a sustainable carbon footprint and organic grow methods.

He added: “Our teams in Colombia and Germany have worked for over a year with our Australian customer, the health authorities and the Colombian government to ensure we adhere to the strict quality standards imposed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).”

Foliumed co-founder and Latam CEO Diego Felipe Navarro (centre) with the firm’s Colombian team

The TGA recently announced new regulations governing the quality of imported medicinal cannabis meaning overseas firms will soon be held to the same standards as Australian manufacturers, a move welcomed by Foliumed.

Zügel said: “Our German operations are EU-GMP certified, [so] we offer Australian importers a full range of solutions, from ingredients to finished product, compliant with the new regulations.”

He urged companies looking to establish new supply chains in light of the TGA changes to start doing so as soon as possible.

“Reconfiguring your supply chain should be high on the agenda,” he said. “Whether you’re importing raw ingredients or sourcing finished EU-GMP product, it will take a year no matter what.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...