Australia’s adoption of medicinal cannabis has taken another step forward after Bod Australia (ASX: BDA) announced it has begun dispensing MediCabilis, its proprietary cannabis oil, via Chemist Warehouse stores nationwide.
Chemist Warehouse is currently ranked as Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer with 450 store locations and employs around 15,000 staff, based in all major cities in Australia.
The company has been dubbed “the Bunnings of pharmacy” because of its intricate franchise structure which includes taking controlling stakes in various smaller pharmacies – a strategy that hauls in around $4 billion per year.
Chemist Warehouse founder Damien Gance has presided over the growth of one of Australia’s biggest retail market empires that dominates market share and can command ultra-low wholesale prices from drugs companies based purely on economies of scale.
As part of the company’s remit to provide the most desirable medicinal products, Chemist Warehouse will stock Bod Australia’s MediCabilis oil and various other products within its health and skin care range.
Bod has developed a wide range of health and skincare products in recent years, but with the continued softening of government legislation in Australia, has decided to add cannabidiol (CBD)-based products to its expansive range.
Its most recent development is MediCabilis, which constitutes Bod’s proprietary, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis extract, being sold in oil form.
The company has said it has already received a number of prescriptions for the product to date and is therefore well-placed to realise further revenue from sales in the coming months.
As a means of ensuring its product not only hits the shelves, but is also understood by chemists and consumers, Bod has said it intends to initiate a comprehensive training program for pharmacists working within Chemist Warehouse’s network of franchise pharmacies.
The program will educate participants on all aspects of dispensing MediCabilis to eligible patients, as well as the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis and changes to the regulatory landscape.
First step towards greater pharmacy coverage
In addition to dispensing MediCabilis via Chemist Warehouse, Bod is also seeking to further expand its distribution network in Australia by pursuing additional agreements with wholesalers and pharmacy groups to ensure its medicinal cannabis products are available to other approved pharmacies across the country.
According to Bod, the company is rapidly building an integrated cannabis business, underpinned by agreements with international counterparties Linnea SA, a leading Swiss botanical extracts manufacturer and iX Biopharma, a late-stage Singapore-listed pharmaceutical company.
Bod has initiated concrete plans to actively develop a range of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription products based on its unique, standardised, pharmaceutical grade cannabis extracts. It currently sells prescription and OTC products to over 1,000 retail outlets, including pharmacies, retail stores and healthcare chains.
“Chemist Warehouse Group is widely recognised as a market leader in the pharmacy sector and we are pleased to have aligned with them to dispense our cannabis products,” said Jo Patterson, CEO of Bod Australia.
“We also look forward to progressing our education initiatives with the Chemist Warehouse Group to ensure medicinal cannabis is prescribed and used responsibly and efficiently. Bod will continue to target additional pharmacy groups and potential distribution partners to drive product uptake,” added Ms Patterson.