Cannabis Health News (UK) reports
Grow Pharma apologises for price rises, blaming ‘escalating costs’
The boss of Grow Pharma, one of the UK’s major cannabis producers, says he is ‘truly sorry’ for price increases, which came into force on 1 October.
Staff at the private cannabis clinic Integro Clinics – one of Grow Pharma’s industry partners – informed patients that the costs of the company’s own range of flower-based products had increased by 50p per gram.
The company has blamed the current economic climate, citing soaring energy bills, ‘escalating’ transportation costs and the poor exchange rate as reasons behind the decision.
According to the firm’s website, Grow Pharma supplies cannabis-based medicines to over 2,000 patients every month across the UK.
In May it announced a new range of ‘low-priced products’, cultivated by licensed producer PHCANN in North Macedonia.
Speaking to Cannabis Health, Grow Pharma’s CEO, Pierre van Weperen, said: “We are truly sorry about having to do this.
“As you can imagine, growing cannabis indoors requires significant amounts of energy and our energy bills have gone through the roof.
“On top of that, transportation costs have escalated, and the exchange rate versus the euro adds another five per cent to the increase.”
Earlier this year, the firm launched the Grow Access Project (GAP), in collaboration with Integro Clinics, in a bid to improve patient access to cannabis by reducing cost-barriers.
The scheme offered 500 free consultations to patients, as well as reducing other clinic costs for patients on means-tested benefits and for veterans of the UK Armed Forces.
Van Weperen continued: “We have looked at finding other ways to manage this. Integro, for example, has lowered consultation fees on top of the 500 free consultations they offered for GAP patients, and the repeat prescription cost is now only £10.”
He also commented on the lack of communication around the price increase with patients who may be affected, saying that any public messaging could risk a breach of strict MHRA guidelines around the advertising of unlicensed medicines.
“Communicating price changes to patients is a compliance nightmare,” he added.
“We cannot send out messages announcing anything since it would be seen as a promotion of medicines to the public, which has severe penalties for us.”
Along with its pharmacy partner IPS, Grow Pharma imports and distributes medicines produced by major brands, including Aurora, Tilray, Spectrum and Columbia Care. These will not be affected by the price increase.