For the first time in New Zealand, Kiwi patients can now be prescribed New Zealand-grown, New Zealand-made cannabis medicine.
Puro Executive Director, Tim Aldridge says this is one of the most significant milestones in the New Zealand medicinal cannabis scheme to date.
“Up until now, New Zealand patients could only be prescribed medicinal cannabis grown overseas, with the vast majority being imported from Australia and Canada,” says Aldridge.
“Now Kiwi patients can access cannabis medicine, which is grown right here in New Zealand, made from Puro’s organically certified crop.”
The full-spectrum CBD oil is manufactured in Auckland by Helius Therapeutics, using organically certified cannabis grown outdoors at Puro’s Kaikōura Coast farm.
Aldridge expects the availability of New Zealand-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis will increase access and affordability for Kiwi patients.
“Since starting in 2018 it’s always been our aim to provide New Zealand patients with greater access to high quality, locally grown and manufactured medicine. While it’s up to pharmacists to determine how much they’ll charge, I hope this new product could cut costs for Kiwi patients by as much as 50% compared to those products coming from overseas.”
Aldridge says that making NZ-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis available to New Zealanders is the culmination of a massive team effort, and is evidence of a real maturation of New Zealand’s industry.
“It’s taken four years for us to get to this point, and it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Navigating this new industry, coming to grips with the regulatory regime, and growing a new crop at scale has been a massive undertaking.
“Helius’ efforts have been equally impressive – achieving the strict standards needed to manufacture a verified medicine to GMP standards is a significant challenge.”
“As far as we know, this is the first time any medicine that’s New Zealand-grown and manufactured has been available on prescription.”
Verification of the full-spectrum medicinal CBD oil was obtained from the Ministry of Health’s Medicinal Cannabis Agency on 12 September 2022, meaning it can now be prescribed by any doctor and dispensed by any pharmacy in New Zealand.