Danish medicinal cannabis program continues to struggle in early 2020

Denmark reported small growth in the number of patients accessing its medicinal cannabis pilot program early this year, but the overall market remains very small, according to data recently disclosed by the country’s official e-health portal.

In the first quarter of 2020, the number of unique patients receiving a prescription for products included in the pilot scheme was 341, slightly higher than the 333 reported in the previous quarter.

Doctors wrote 825 prescriptions for products included in the scheme in the first three months of the year, more than the 696 issued during the last quarter of 2019.

The pilot program started in January 2018 and peaked in mid-2019, when about 1,000 patients were receiving 1,800 prescriptions per quarter.

But the number of patients sharply declined in the second half of 2019 and has not shown any signs of regaining its previous levels.

This is an example of why cannabis companies should not assume that exponential growth is inevitable.

Only four products are available in Denmark: Three varieties of Bedrocan flower imported by Danish distributor Canngros from the Netherlands and capsules sold by Alberta, Canada-based Aurora Cannabis.

Marijuana Business Daily exclusively reported that only eight of the 63 applications to admit products to the program were approved since its inception in 2018.

However, some of those products were removed because they could no longer be legally provided in the country of origin, Canada.

During the first quarter of 2020, 27 packages – each containing 100 units – of Aurora capsules were sold, as were about 9 kilograms of flower.

The revenue generated by flower sales was almost $160,000 while that of Aurora capsules just $4,400.

Total sales during the first quarter of 2020 reached almost $1.4 million, but almost all of that revenue was generated through sales of magistral preparations with pure THC or pure CBD – no full-spectrum products – and, to a lesser extent, finished pharmaceutical medicines such as Sativex.

These are preparations or finished products that, for the most part, have been available in Denmark since before 2018 and are not part of the pilot program.

Considering all types of products, 5,506 patients received a prescription for medical cannabis at least once from January 2018 until March 2020 – most of them for isolated cannabinoids magistral preparations.

The vast majority of the patients have been older than 40.

About half the prescriptions were written to treat neuropathic pain. Women represent more than 60% of the patients.

Canada exported roughly 336 liters (89 gallons) of medical cannabis oil products to Denmark in 2019.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at alfredop@mjbizdaily.com