Cannabis - BfArM awards remaining contracts

The time has come for Cannabis "Made in Germany". The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has completed the award procedure for the cultivation of cannabis, which started in July 2018. In a press release, the agency announced that the remaining four lots have been awarded.

On 17 April, the Aphria and Aurora groups had received four and five lots respectively. Now, Aphria GmbH has been awarded a fifth lot and the remaining three lots are going to Demecan GmbH, which belongs to the Canadian cannabis producer Wayland (production plant in Ebersbach). The agency currently expects the first cannabis harvest to take place in the 4th quarter of 2020.

Application for reconsideration withdrawn

So far, the remaining four out of the total of 13 lots have not been awarded yet because an unsuccessful bidder had applied to the Public Procurement Chamber for reconsideration. However, this request has been withdrawn.

Three Canadian companies have been awarded the contracts

With the allocation of the last four lots to Aphria and Demecan, all 13 lots have been awarded to Canadian groups. A total of 79 bidders had applied for the lots (including German growers / companies).

First harvest by the end of 2020?

The BfArM is expecting the first harvest for the 4th quarter of 2020. The Cannabis Agency - newly founded by the BfArM for this purpose - will purchase, take possession of and sell the medical cannabis cultivated in Germany in accordance with the international legal requirements of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 to manufacturers of medicinal products, wholesalers or pharmacies. However, the harvest will neither be transported to the BfArM nor stored there.

BfArM President Prof Dr Karl Broich stated in the press release on the occasion of the conclusion of the award procedure that "this step is an important contribution to the improvement of the supply situation. The successful finalization of the award procedure means that the cultivation of cannabis of pharmaceutical quality in Germany can now be fully and rapidly implemented".

Current shortages for imports

Is it also due to the high GMP requirements that there are currently frequent supply bottlenecks for cannabis in Germany? "Actually, there are no delivery bottlenecks," Broich explained. However, there are shortages for certain varieties, especially for those that contain a lot of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition, the varieties not only differ in their THC content, but also partly in their spectrum of substances (e.g. cannabidiol (CBD) content) and thus in their effect - as with other phytopharmaceuticals. 

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