COST OF EPIDIOLEX VS WHOLE PLANT CANNABIS FOR TREATMENT RESISTANT EPILEPSY

As many of you have heard, Epidiolex, a nearly pure CBD anti-epileptic made by GW Pharmaceuticals has been approved by the FDA and will probably launch sales mid 2019.

The cost for an average patient for one year is over $32,000.

This is on par with other anti-epileptics, but is certainly an astonishing cost when you compare this cost to the cost of whole plant CBD at it’s therapeutic dose.

I specifically say “whole plant cannabis” because it always requires far less CBD than CBD isolates, and Epidiolex is no exception although not a pure isolate. So when comparing cost, it is essential to compare to the average cost of whole plant CBD at the dose where it is effective. In my experience, I very rarely use more than 100 mg per day in divided doses sublingually for intractable seizures.

Not only is whole plant cannabis less expensive at around $5,000 per year, it requires a lower dose and I believe, as with other whole plant vs “isolate” studies, the whole plant CBD will prove to be more effective.

This may have a huge impact on the stock, as the more patients who go “whole plant”, the less sales to GW. Even with insurance paying for it, it is likely the co-pay will be as much as the whole plant cost for the year.

I suppose this is good news for the “artisanal” cannabis medicine creator, but if less and less CBD is available and so few doctors are involved, the Pharmaceutical route may still win out.

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/08/07/1548402/0/en/GW-Pharmaceuticals-plc-Reports-Fiscal-Third-Quarter-2018-Financial-Results-and-Operational-Progress.html

Author
Allan Frankel, MD

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