There’s a high cost to medical cannabis. For Dr Huhana Hickey, it came to about $400 a month.
“You either try it and get broke …or you just go illegal, which is a lot cheaper,” the disability rights lawyer said.
But the cost of medical cannabis could soon be slashed after two major players in the industry have joined forces.
More affordable products are expected to be available on prescription later this year under a multi-million dollar deal between South Island growers Puro and Auckland company Helius Therapeutics.
It marks the first commercial bulk deal in New Zealand.
Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics, said as more products entered the local market, the prices should continue to come down.
“We are a small market but we are growing quickly. We’re seeing the curiosity of health care professionals grow and we’re getting a lot of enquiries,” she said.
Puro’s managing director Tim Alderidge said the deal allowed locally-grown cannabis to be provided to people through doctors and GPs.
“It’s absolutely huge for New Zealand,” he said.
Alderidge said it came with lots of potential. Exports are next on the cards, with deals pending in Australia and Europe.
Growth over time is expected to skyrocket, he predicted.
Hickey said even if current costs were halved, however, it still wasn’t enough.
But, she agreed having more options on the market was vital.
“It takes it out of the extreme cost and brings it into the expensive. What we have to have is a funding mechanism for disabled, for people with chronic health conditions needing it.”