Brazil allows sale of cannabis-based MS drug

Brazil’s health care regulator, ANVISA, handed out the nation’s first license for the sale of a cannabis-based drug – one designed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

According to Reuters, U.K.-based GW Pharmaceuticals PLC developed the marijuana-based oral spray, which is known internationally as Sativex. It will be marketed in Brazil as Mevatyl.

ANVISA announced Monday it had issued a license to São Paulo-based Beaufour Ipsen Farmacêutica to sell and distribute the drug.

Sativex is already sold in 28 other countries, according to ANVISA.

For several years, Brazilian patients have waged a legal battle to get around prohibitions targeting cannabis-based medicines. But in the past couple of years, according to Reuters, ANVISA has loosened some restrictions and allowed patients with medical recommendations to import marijuana-based medicines.

Brazil decriminalized growing and possessing small amounts of cannabis and other drugs more than a decade ago, Reuters reported. But buying and selling cannabis is still not allowed.