The results are in from the first structured review of legal medicinal cannabis product prices in the Australian market, and it’s very encouraging for patients. The study, undertaken by Cannabis Access Clinics Research Centre, revealed that over the past 12 months, the number of legal products available to Aussie patients is up threefold from 11 products to 35, and entry level product prices have nearly halved as pricing competition has intensified.
Patient costs higher than illegal products, but affordable for most patients
Patients paid on average A$373 per month during 3Q 2018, about 25% higher than pricing for illegal products. The cost to patients, however, remains variable depending not just by product type prescribed, but also by pharmacy margin, which fluctuates significantly from an average of 26% to as high as 140%, and by the dosage required to see benefits. CBD products are also much cheaper than those with THC. Taken as a whole, however, prices paid by many patients fall within the limits of what is considered affordable.
Chronic Pain: Patients paid A$353 per month on average for legal medicinal cannabis.
Epilepsy: Patients with epilepsy require much higher dosage prescriptions in order to see benefits and spent an average of A$992 per month on treatment.
Other indications: A range of other indications analyzed include insomnia, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and multiple sclerosis. The average product costs for these patients as a group was A$212 per month.
Prices expected to continue to decline as more players enter the market
Cannabis Access Clinics Research Centre expects product prices to continue to trend downwards. It’s expected that many more suppliers will enter the Australian market from established production hubs like Canada and Europe, and Australian cultivators and manufacturers are also expected to come online in 2019, further adding to pricing competition, and inevitably lower prices.
Patient access to safe and legal medicinal cannabis improving in Australia
Medicinal Cannabis in Australia is legal at the federal level, but products are strictly regulated. Products need to be pharmaceutical grade and are available from pharmacies via doctor prescription only. Until recently patients have found getting doctor prescriptions extremely difficult, but with the launch of national clinic networks such as Cannabis Access Clinics, patient numbers are now growing rapidly.