Dutch dope busts price of minty ganja gum
AXIM Biotechnologies, a small, Manhattan-based company with ties to the Netherlands, says it has a trump card in its quest to develop a cannabis-based chewing gum to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The company says it will be able to price its gum cheaper than a major competitor after securing a "significant" discount on cannabis made available by the Dutch government.
To be sure, AXIM has a long way to go before its Medchew Rx gum - still in development - will be a viable alternative to an under-the-tongue spray developed by GW Pharmaceuticals.
That spray, Sativex, is already approved in 27 countries - though not in the US, where cannabis remains prohibited under federal law.
Provided treatment is regulated, cannabis could be therapeutic for MS patients, said Paul Wright, chairman of neurology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.
"I do believe that there's a role for it," he said, "but I am fearful of the potential for abuse."
Lekhram Changoer, AXIM's Dutch chief technology officer, said the company would be able to pass on the discount from its Dutch-sourced cannabis to customers.
He declined to estimate the price.
A typical British patient takes four sprays of Sativex daily at a cost of about $8.24 (about R130).
AXIM, which started out in the organic waste business before reinventing itself last year, hopes its mint-flavoured gum will be on sale in the US as early as next year pending Food and Drug Administration approval.