(This story has been updated with new information from the Danish Medicines Agency.)
The Danish Medicines Agency has put most inspections on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That means the country’s domestic medical cannabis businesses could face more delays in getting product to market as producers await certificates of compliance from the health agency.
The agency later clarified: “A few already scheduled inspections were carried out as office-based assessments during the period when the Danish Medicines Agency did not conduct on-site inspections and laboratory controls.”
The agency announced the measure at the end of March.
The Agency issues certificates for cannabis-producing companies to confirm compliance with national regulations on the manufacture of marijuana in the pilot program.
A certificate also confirms compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice for medicines, which is needed before a company can export medical marijuana products to other markets in the European Union.
As of the end of 2019, Schroll Medical ApS and Canopy Growth Denmark ApS held licenses to produce cannabis bulk as well as cannabis intermediate products (cannabis primary products based on Danish-grown marijuana).
Rikke Jakobsen of the nongovernmental organization Cannabis Denmark expects inspections to resume within two months.
Jakobsen said Denmark was one of the few countries in Europe that took early action to deal with the virus.
“We expect a gradual reopening over the summer,” she said.
As of April 14, the country reported 6,511 infections and 299 deaths from COVID-19.
The country recently took the first steps to reopen parts of society, though some measures were extended into May.
A ban on major events was pushed to Aug. 31.
Denmark’s four-year medical marijuana program launched in 2018, and a formal evaluation is required to take place in 2020.
The number of patients accessing the pilot program nearly halved in the third quarter of 2019 after Canadian producer CannTrust ran into regulatory issues.
Unique consumers fell to 582 in the July-September period from 1,045 in the April-June quarter.
Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].
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