In June of 2018, Epidiolex received FDA approval as the world’s first CBD prescription drug. Created for the treatment of two severe childhood epilepsy disorders – Lennox Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome – the drug recently received approval for use in the European Union.
This opens up the floodgates for the pharmaceutical giant, as Epidiolex now can be prescribed in most European countries, giving patients access to legal, regulated CBD.
According to Yahoo Finance, Epidiolex’s traction certainly seems to have a bright future, but it also means CBD could become a more mainstream pharmaceutical product.
Although CBD’s research focused primarily on epilepsy, preliminary and anecdotal evidence suggests other potential applications that different companies are happy to explore.
“The Talk of the Town”
Epidiolex may be a big name worldwide, but it is certainly not responsible for starting the conversation around CBD or medical cannabis. It did, however, lend legitimacy to an industry that is unregulated, inconsistent and – in some cases – dangerous.
The fact that CBD’s efficacy was finally established in controlled studies is the most compelling evidence to date. Naturally, this cemented cannabidiol as a household name:
“Cannabidiol drugs are the talk of the town and approval of Epidolex in Europe will certainly make the issue global. Several states in the United States are legalizing marijuana or cannabis for recreational and medicinal use. Many companies are developing cannabis-based therapies and focusing on cultivation and distribution of cannabis.”
Huge Sales Increase
Needless to say, Epidiolex is seeing some huge returns, which Yahoo Finance says are likely to grow bigger:
“The only FDA-approved CBD drug, Epidolex, has shown strong uptake in sales and new patient enrollments since its launch in November 2018 in the United States. It generated sales of $101.9 million in the first half of 2019. Sales of the drug grew more than 80% sequentially in the second quarter. Sales growth of the drug is expected to receive a boost with the EU approval.”
Considering that a year’s worth of Epidiolex costs over $32,000 USD, GW Pharmaceuticals will see record profits from its new invention.
But GW may soon end up sharing the market with some upcoming CBD drugs.
New Medications in Development
At the moment, one other company is tossing its hat in the CBD ring. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is currently working on its own CBD medication called Zygel.
But unlike Epidiolex, Zygel’s intent is to help child patients with autism spectrum disorder.
Both companies also face competition from the generic medical marijuana industry. They may offer access to patients who would otherwise have none due to legal roadblocks, individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal represent a much larger share of the market.
Prescription CBD drugs have their place in the U.S., but federal legalization could eclipse those sales. Nonetheless, doctors will be more comfortable with regulated CBD products now that they have controlled studies to back the medicine.
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