A network of medical cannabis clinics has become the first in the UK to offer prescriptions at a drastically reduced cost.
The company controls each stage of the manufacture, distribution and supply, significantly lowering the prescription cost for the patient.
This is the first time UK patients have been able to access medical cannabis at a reduced cost outside of the Project Twenty21 registry.
EMMAC co-founder, Ed McDermott, said:
“We’ve taken a vertically integrated approach to our business model which means that we control cultivation, processing, manufacturing and distribution, essentially cutting out middlemen.
“Unfortunately, cannabis is a private market still which means that patients are self pay.
“By bringing that price down by allowing a supply chain to work efficiently and create cost savings were able to pass that on.”
Sapphire pain specialist Dr Michael Platt explained that many patients who obtain a private prescription have to stop due to the costs involved.
The NHS consultant said that the clinic had seen a significant increase in pain patients over the past two months.
“I think it’s the realisation that prices have come down so much has made the difference.”
There are currently only two medical cannabis medicines available on the NHS: Epidyolex for two rare types of epilepsy and Sativex for MS-related muscle spasticity.
Patients wishing to obtain cannabis medicine for other conditions or in other formulations have to rely on the private sector to obtain their prescriptions.
Leigh Sherman started buying cannabis on the black market in 2007 to help treat nausea and panic attacks from his anxiety.
The first medicine he legally obtained was imported from Canada at a cost of around £300.
He told BBC News:
“At the time, I was on benefits. I was on zero hours contracts and it was just a nightmare tried to afford it, basically.
“Now I’m using a product that costs £80 and it lasts two months. On the black market, I was paying up to £70 a week.”
A review by Sapphire found that patients with chronic pain will now pay the clinic an average of £4.76 per day.