TORONTO, Dec. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Pathway Health Corp. (TSXV: PHC) (formerly Colson Capital Corp.) (“Pathway” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the progress of its pharmacy initiatives.
On December 7, 2021, Pathway Health announced its third major pharmacy agreement in 2021 with the signing of a Collaboration Agreement with Metro Ontario Pharmacies Limited, a subsidiary of Metro Inc. [TSX: MRU]. The Metro agreement pertains to the implementation of Pathway’s Medical Cannabis Management System (“MCMS”) in Metro Pharmacies and Food Basics Pharmacies across Ontario.
“The Metro partnership is similar in many ways to the agreements we signed earlier this year with PharmaChoice and Sobeys,” said Ken Yoon, CEO at Pathway. “We believe these agreements reflect the pharmacy sector’s recognition of a growing interest by patients and consumers in using cannabis-based products and services for a number of ailments including chronic pain, insomnia and anxiety. It’s been 3 years since the legalization of recreational cannabis through retail stores in Canada and many are anticipating that the next step in the evolution of cannabis regulations will see pharmacies and pharmacists playing a central role in supporting patients interested in medical cannabis, including the distribution of cannabis-based products,” said Yoon.
Pathway Medical Cannabis Services through Pharmacies
As reported in Pathway’s previous press releases, the pharmacy agreements signed by the Company have two components, the first consisting of Pathway providing access to its Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) accredited course, “Cannabis and Patient Care for Pharmacists“, which reviews the history, science, clinical applications and regulations around cannabis in Canada. This training provides pharmacists with the background required to assess and educate medical cannabis patients. The second initiative underlying the agreements involves the implementation of Pathway’s MCMS in partnered pharmacy locations across Canada.
Pathway’s MCMS was designed to be implemented in retail pharmacies, with the overarching goal of creating access points for medical cannabis care and enabling pharmacists to participate in medical cannabis assessments for appropriate pharmacy patients. Under the MCMS, patients are connected with a Pathway-affiliated Physician, Nurse Practitioner or the patient’s own General Practitioner for evaluation through the Company’s telehealth-based delivery model. Pathway currently has agreements with six pharmacy companies covering more than 2,000 retail locations.
Cannabis 3.0, Cannabis Health Products (CHPs) and Pharmacies
Cannabis is one of the most widely used substances in Canada with nearly half of Canadians reporting having used it at some time in their lives. In October 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize its’ sale, possession, and non-medical use by adults. “Until recently however, regulations made access to medical cannabis difficult, limiting its use by patients,” said Yoon. “In spite of these limitations, there continues to be a strong and growing interest among Canadians about the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and safe distribution of health products containing cannabis.”
In 2019, Health Canada launched a public consultation process titled “Potential Market for Cannabis Health Products (CHPs)” in which the creation of a pathway for consumer health products containing cannabis-derived compounds, such as Cannabidiol or CBD is being examined. This would form the basis for the next round of changes to the Cannabis Act, which are widely expected to contain legislation around CHPs. This next iteration of the Cannabis Act is commonly being referred to as “Cannabis 3.0”.
“Cannabis 3.0 is all about bringing the benefits of cannabis derivatives safely into the mainstream,” said Yoon. Under current laws, a product that contains cannabis and makes a label health claim, would need to be approved by Health Canada, issued a Drug Identification Number (DIN), require a prescription by a practitioner and be distributed through a pharmacy. The drug Sativex is an example of this. Alternatively, select cannabis products approved by Health Canada for medical purposes that don’t have a label health claim or DIN are covered under the Cannabis Act. In this case, a medical document issued by a Physician or Nurse Practitioner is required to fulfil the product from a Health Canada approved Licensed Seller via a process that involves online mail order and, in many cases, education by clinics such as those of Pathway Health. In 2018, when the Cannabis Act was passed, products containing THC and CBD were regulated as adult use recreational retail cannabis products. The introduction of Cannabis Health Products (CHPs) under Cannabis 3.0 may permit the sale of certain cannabis-based health products without a prescription or medical document, including those containing CBD. “It makes sense for these products to be safely distributed in a regulated environment through Canada’s existing network of retail pharmacy locations, much like other OTC medications, where consumers can ask a pharmacist for health-related advice,” commented Yoon.
CBD Market Size
A report titled ‘Assessing the Economic Impact of Regulating CBD Products as Health Products’ was recently published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa. This report estimates that the regulation of CBD as a health product in Canada could have an economic impact of as much as $2.45 billion annually by 2023. “What makes the implications behind this forecast so exciting for Pathway Health is that industry watchers believe that Canadian retail pharmacies will play a major role in the distribution of CHPs,” said Yoon. “Based on our medical experience in pain, combined with Pathway Health’s position as the largest provider of medical cannabis services in Canada, we have been able to develop a unique relationship with some of Canada’s largest pharmacy chains as it relates to cannabis products and services. We anticipate signing new MCMS pharmacy partners in 2022 as more pharmacies prepare for the introduction of Cannabis 3.0. We will also continue our work with our pharmacy partners to assist in the development of unique, medically-driven CHPs that they can expect to be available for distribution through their retail locations following the passage of any Cannabis 3.0 legislation.”
About Pathway Health
Pathway Health is an integrated healthcare company that provides products and services to patients suffering from chronic pain and related conditions. The Company owns and operates nine community-based clinics across four provinces where its team of health professionals work together to help patients through a variety of evidence-based approaches and products, including medical cannabis. Pathway’s patient care programs utilize an interdisciplinary approach that is guided by trained pain specialists, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, nurses, and other healthcare providers. Pathway is also the leading provider of medical cannabis services in Canada and has established itself as the leading partner with national and regional pharmacy companies for the delivery of medical cannabis services to their customers. The Company is working with several pharmacy companies on the development of Cannabis Health Products (CHPs) for OTC product distribution through retail pharmacy locations across the country following anticipated changes to the Cannabis Act.
For more information, visit Pathway Health’s website: www.pathwayhealth.ca