Shoppers Drug Mart Exiting Medical Cannabis

After a bit over 4 years dispensing medical cannabis, Shoppers Drug Mart has lined up a partner to take over this part of its business.

Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. is a retail pharmacy chain headquartered in Toronto. It has close to 1,300 outlets in ten provinces and two territories – and a significant online presence.

The firm applied to Health Canada to become a licensed medical marijuana producer in October 2016 and received Health Canada approval in 2018. While it had no interest in producing medical cannabis, this license was required for mail order medical cannabis along with a sales license. Shoppers Drug Mart instead signed supply deals with various other licensed producers.

With all its ducks then lined up, the company launched its online platform for the sale of medical cannabis in early 2019; starting with sales in Ontario and then expanding into other jurisdictions. The firm says it has supported tens of thousands of patients over the last four years to make accessing medical cannabis access easier.

But Shoppers’ time in this arena is drawing to a close. The company announced this week it is to transition this part of its business to biopharmaceutical company Avicanna. Over the next three months, Shoppers will continue to support patients throughout the transfer of assets and services.

“As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end,” said Jeff Leger, President, Shoppers Drug Mart.

Avicanna will introduce a new medical cannabis care platform called MyMedi.ca.

“We are motivated towards furthering the work started by Shoppers to create Canada’s leading independent, comprehensive medical cannabis platform and continuing our efforts towards advancing access to medical cannabis and its long-term incorporation into the standard of care,” said Aras Azadian, CEO, Avicanna.

Avicanna has an established scientific platform that has led to the commercialization of 30+ products across four main market segments; including medical cannabis and wellness products. RHO Phyto brand products have been available in Canada for some time through a partnership with Shoppers.

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