Pharma company fighting AZ rec motivated to protect market share

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A pharmaceutical company that donated half a million dollars to combating a ballot measure that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Arizona is concerned about losing business to natural cannabinoids found in marijuana.

Insys Therapeutics, which gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy on Aug. 31, is developing a synthetic cannabis product called the Dronabinol Oral Solution to help chemotherapy patients fight nausea and vomiting.

In a 2007 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company wrote that marijuana legalization could cut into its profits from dronabinol, the Intercept reported Monday.

“Legalization of marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids in the United States could significantly limit the commercial success of any dronabinol product candidate,” the Arizona company said in its filing. “If marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids were legalized in the United States, the market for dronabinol product sales would likely be significantly reduced and our ability to generate revenue and our business prospects would be materially adversely affected.”

That was included in a lengthy SEC filing dated Aug. 17, 2007, and it stands in contrast to Insys Therapeutics’ claim to reporters that its donation to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy was motivated by concern for citizen safety, “particularly children.”

Arizona is already home to one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country, with roughly 100,000 registered MMJ cardholders.