August 9, 2018

First Ever Cannabis-Based Epilepsy Drug is Not Going to Be Cheap

August 9, 2018
next-green-wave-Qj2qE-H7A2s-unsplash
The first ever cannabis drug, Epidiolex, created to treat rare forms of epilepsy could cost $32,500 a year.

Now that the first ever cannabis compound to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no one can afford to buy it.

Epidiolex, made by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals, told investors that it would cost roughly $32,500 per year.

Julian Gangolli, who leads GW’s commercialization efforts in the US, said the price keeps Epidiolex in line with other epilepsy drugs and was based on feedback from insurance companies.

Gangolli said that the wait time to receive the medication, after patients get a prescription, can be up to three weeks.

However, before any Epidiolex prescriptions for can be written, the DEA needs to reschedule cannabis, an active compound in CBD.

Currently, CBD is scheduled alongside marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with no “accepted medical use.”

On June 25, 2018 when Epidiolex was FDA approved, the agency had 90 days to reschedule or reclassify it as a schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5 substance.

“We don’t have a choice on that,” DEA public affairs officer Barbara Carreno told Business Insider in June. It has not yet happened.

Although the green light from the DEA, when it does happen, means that patients will be able to access Epidiolex with a doctor’s prescription, how do they pay for it?

Will patients or parents of children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome seek out less expensive sources of CBD in dispensaries?

Researchers and advocates naturally caution against this, because of the impossibility of knowing the content of such products and their sources.

Gangolli offered some hope: with insurance, Epidiolex could be substantially cheaper than dispensary CBD.

“The cost of a co-pay [for Epidiolex] is significantly – or could be significantly – less onerous and burdensome than the cost of the product either over the Internet or from a dispensary,” Gangolli said, per the Business Insider.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on reddit
Reddit
Recent & Related Posts

Articles

Recent & Related Posts
Medical
Mark Willey

Missouri Green Doctors

Since voters passed Amendment 2 with an overwhelming majority in 2018, Missouri has become a new medical marijuana landscape and has seen approximately 50,000 patients

Read More »
Medical
Ryan Quinones

Hemp Missouri

Missourians have been growing hemp as a staple crop dating back to the early-nineteenth century. American farmers grew hemp all over the country and manufactured

Read More »
Missouri Sneate Bill 491 took decriminalization one step further in the Show-Me-State.
Medical
Brodie Kush

Missouri Senate Bill 491

Missouri is now a legal medical marijuana state, but six years ago in 2014, the Missouri legislature was able to pass SB 491 a modified,

Read More »
Medical
Ryan Quinones

Missouri Marijuana Laws

Over the past couple years, Missouri has been rapidly amping up its efforts to overturn drug war era policies and replace them with a regulated 

Read More »
Medical
John Payne

Missouri Marijuana Legalization

11 states have legalized recreational marijuana, and another 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized medical cannabis. So,  here’s where things stand here

Read More »