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Think CBD is expensive? Wait until you’ve heard about the prescription alternative


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Many have complained of high prices for CBD products in recent years as the compound has grown in popularity and found its way into nearly every product imaginable.


This has led some to turn to shadier and less well-verified versions of cannabidiol products and vendors as common as gas stations. It can be hard to know what products are right for a specific person’s needs, but it is also worth noting how expensive prescription counterparts to common CBD products are.


To be clear, CBD is not a verified cure for illnesses and health problems. It is not the proper response to a cancer diagnosis, it won’t resolve a common cold and the Food and Drug Administration has warned against companies that make outlandish claims in that vein.


Much more research is needed on CBD’s particular interactions with the body and possible healing benefits, but this lack of knowledge is also largely caused by a legal regime that prohibited the substance until 2018 in the U.S.


Still, thousands have used the compound — a cannabis product that does not get its users high upon use — for anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia, along with other problems.


There is only one prescription drug made from CBD: Epidiolex, a drug for a rare type of child epilepsy produced by GW Pharma.


In a November feature on out-of-control prescription price rises, Consumer Reports interviewed Bryan Lumpkin, a 40-year-old from Alabama whose son suffers from seizures. [1]


Lumpkin said an Epidiolex prescription for his child would cost over $2,300 per month, and his insurance doesn’t cover the drug.


For some, prescriptions and other approved remedies are certainly necessary. But in the U.S., this need has certainly helped some people and groups more than others.


Consumer Reports that despite moves in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019, prescription drug prices just keep climbing. [1]


According to MSN, GW Pharma saw far greater profits from Epidiolex than Morgan Stanley predicted, raking in $68 million rather than $45 million in its second financial quarter on the market.


Those sales were made to over 12,000 patients. [3]


In November, Market Watch reported the third quarter was another success story for GW Pharma and Epidiolex.


A Bank of America analyst told Market Watch the companies U.S. sales increased by 26% and far exceeded expectations. The company plans to expand to European markets next.


For those who can afford or desperately need Epidiolex, it is certainly a welcome innovation.

It is also important to note who stands to benefit from high barriers to entry into a crowded market for products that may very well turn out to benefit people’s lives.


Sources

[1] https://www.consumerreports.org/drug-prices/the-shocking-rise-of-prescription-drug-prices/

[2] https://www.benzinga.com/analyst-ratings/analyst-color/19/11/14745563/analysts-remain-upbeat-on-gw-pharmas-optionality-with-epidiolex

[3] https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/gw-pharma-analysts-raise-estimates-after-cbd-drug-epidiolex-shows-strong-uptake/ar-AAFtHw3

[4] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oppenheimer-lowers-gw-pharma-price-target-tweaks-revenue-forecasts-for-epidiolex-2019-09-27

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