In the current issue of the German trade journal Pharma Relations our senior consultant Guido Balke was interviewed as an expert in pharmaceutical marketing. Under the headline "Blooming prospects" Balke talks in detail about the market for cannabis-based drugs and highlights the opportunities and risks involved in marketing them.
About three years after the new medical cannabis law came into force in Germany, often doctors are still uncertain about the correct use of the new medication – especially concerning cannabis flowers. "That’s not surprising, as there are currently about 50 to 60 different varieties on the market, all with varying levels of psychoactive THC and relaxing CBD. Not to mention the other cannabinoids and terpenes," Balke explains.
According to Balke, correct communication with the target groups is therefore all the more important. You have to provide doctors in particular with practice-relevant information that answers questions about the mode of action, suitable indications and patient care. At the same time, however, practical questions about prescriptions, billing and reimbursement must also be dealt with.
Moreover, the expert for healthcare communication also points out the special features of marketing the new drugs and explains the differences to the usual pharmaceutical communication: "Compared to the classical pharmaceutical market, we have many legal grey areas and basically more freedom here. At the same time, we have to observe in our communication not only the drug advertising law but also the Federal Narcotics Law".
This also affects the marketing for pharmacies. These play a decisive role in the supply of patients with cannabis-based drugs, but, according to Balke, have not yet recognised the economic potential of this therapeutic option: "Generally, the interest is very high among pharmacists. But of course there are also fears of contact and prejudgments on sides of the doctors. For example, some don't want to get into the "dirty corner" and attract the wrong clientele."
The predictions are promising. According to Balke, some assume that approximately one per cent of the German population is eligible for the prescription of cannabis-based drugs. That is approximately 800,000 people. "So the gold, or better green rush, is far from over," says Balke.
The article was published in Pharma Relations 01-02/2020 and also online via this link.