Health fund backs medicinal cannabis with Little Green Pharma deal

Health fund backs medicinal cannabis with Little Green Pharma deal

Little Green Pharma (ASX: LGP) hopes a new strategic partnership with Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) will improve access to and affordability of medicinal cannabis for its patients.

The partnership is the first time a major Australian health fund has publicly declared its support for access to medicinal cannabis treatments and will see HIF deliver rebates for the drugs.

Research into the drug is also a part of the deal, with eligible HIF members entitled to priority participation in trials.

"Our company has always had Australian patient access at the forefront," LGP managing director Fleta Solomon said.

"We were the first company in Australia to launch with locally-grown and affordable medicinal cannabis products.

"We are proud to further contribute to driving improved affordability and our partnership with HIF, another patient-focused company, will mean better access to medicinal cannabis products for patients across Australia."

As part of the partnership HIF will pay rebates for medicinal cannabis across all but one of its extras policies, with eligible members receiving up to $105 back per script.

HIF CEO Justin James said supporting the industry and partnering with LGP is aligned with the insurer's goals of providing new, alternative treatment choices to its members.

"We are exceptionally pleased to be the first Australian health fund to publicly declare our support for medicinal cannabis treatments and provide our members with rebates on these products," James said.

"As a member-based health fund, our community is the motivation for everything we do, so assisting members through treatment options that can dramatically improve quality of life across different life stages is a key focus.

"Global research is showing promise, so we look forward to supporting more research being undertaken on local soil."

AusCann to sell Chilean joint venture interest

Medicinal cannabis company AusCann (ASX: AC8) has entered into an agreement to sell its 50 per cent interest in a joint venture (JV) with Chilean company Fundación Daya.

Telor International will acquire AusCann's 50 per cent interest in the DayaCann JV for a total consideration of US$1.5 million (AUD$2 million).

The DayaCann JV was formed in 2016 to cultivate and supply local and global markets with medicinal cannabis cultivated in Chile.

To date, it is the only cultivation company in Chile that has licences to complete multiple harvests yielding more than 1,000kg of dried cannabis flower.

However, according to AusCann, the Chilean government has constrained the supply of cannabis to Chilean patients and has not approved the export of medicinal cannabis out of Chile, which it previously anticipated.

AusCann's CEO Nick Woolf said the JV has become a non-core activity, with the Australian company now focusing on differentiated, high value cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals.

"The DayaCann joint venture became a non-core activity for AusCann due to the restrictions imposed by the Chilean government on the use and export of medicinal cannabis from Chile," said Woolf.

"This agreement strengthens AusCann's capital position and enables management to focus on the company's core strategy of building value through R&D and a differentiated portfolio of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals, the first being our unique hard-shell capsules already launched into the market."

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