Connect with us


The Brazilian cannabis industry is still in its budding stage

The cannabis market in Brazil is still in its budding stage. Currently, the cannabis companies are putting together the pharmaceutical dossier, with tests and reports, to submit an application for registration. The rules stipulated by Anvisa are very complex. At the moment, there are only two cannabis-based drugs registered in drugstores. One imported, Mevatyl and the other one is Prati.



This picture show the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the cannabis business around the world. However, the cannabis market in Brazil is cautious, quite different from the euphoria felt earlier this year. Just to remember: in January, some companies were boasting that they would have cannabis-based drugs on the shelves of national pharmacies in the first half of the year. Now the deadline for most of them was postponed to 2021.

The Brazilian market actually took off this year, after the first sign that Brazil would invest in the development of a medical cannabis industry. That was in December 2019, when Anvisa (Health Surveillance Agency) regularized the marketing and manufacturing of cannabis-based medicines.

If you want to find out more details about the cannabis industry in Brazil, how both Anvisa’s complex rules and the COVID-19 pandemic stalled its development, and to read the latest hemp news, download the mobile app.

The pandemic and Anvisa’s complex rules hindered the Brazilian cannabis industry

Brazil is entering a business that saw its peak in Canada and the USA back in 2018. These nations have legalized the entire chain, from cultivation to the final product. The industry has created new jobs, taxes for the government, and large corporations with shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Brazilian businessmen have watched this process from afar. For no other reason, the regularization of Anvisa has created a generalized excitement, which has been decreasing over the last months. First, because of the advance of COVID-19 in the country, and with it, the climate of economic uncertainties – as well as much sadness for the lost lives. The challenge of capturing investments became even greater for cannabis startups.

In parallel, there was also an understanding of the complexity of the rules stipulated by Anvisa. They are pharmaceutical rules, very technical, taken from the specifications for medicines, in general. The problem is that few startups were set up to be laboratories.

“At the end of 2019, everyone thought we had won, but nobody took it,” said Jaime Ozi, who became partner and vice president of business at CanTera and OnixCann, shortly after the regulation was published. Before that, Ozi was regional director of Spectrum Therapeutics, the pharmaceutical arm of the multinational Canopy Growth in Brazil.

Pratti-Donaduzzi, a pharmacist from Paraná, is the first and only Brazilian to be able to register a cannabis drug at Anvisa. That was last month.

The other competitors are preparing the pharmaceutical dossiers they need to obtain the registration. Some have had to partner with third parties to get the job done. One example is OnixCann/Can Tera, by Ozi and Marcelo Galvão, which closed with Israel’s MGC Pharma in March.

Anvisa’s demands are difficult to meet

According to the companies, some of Anvisa’s requirements involve a lengthy process, such as the stability test. “It works as a guarantee of shelf life that goes into the medicine box. The proof attests that the product does not change within six months or a year and also warns in what conditions of temperature and humidity should be maintained,” explained José Bacellar, from the Canadian company VerdeMed, set up to operate in Latin America.

The stability test is only one of the 12 main points of this regulation. Anvisa has even published a manual to try to facilitate the understanding of the norms. Large pharmaceutical companies, such as Aché or Prati, have mastered these technical intricacies – unlike small companies that were not born with this DNA, but focused only on sales. In Aché’s case, the company reported that plans for medical cannabis are still embryonic.

The Anvisa regulation fell like a bomb also for the multinationals, which arrived with many plans in Brazil, the Canadian Canopy Growth case. In Canada, doctors prescribe medical cannabis as a herbal medicine. In the US, it is classified as a food supplement.

In Brazil, Anvisa classifies it as a phyto drug product and, after five years from the publication of the standard, it will become a medicine.

In the meantime, the companies have gained some time to adapt. The initial registration is for cannabis products. However, companies have until 2025 to conduct, for example, clinical trials – the costs of which advance by a million reais.

Cannabis companies in Brazil postponed the release of their cannabis-based drugs

The report listened to nine companies that operate in the domestic market to get an idea of what the consumer can expect in the second half of the year. Seven of them said that only next year they will be able to complete the process to meet the demands for the initial registration, which allows marketing. Two companies said they are battling to finish the dossier in the second half of the year. And even so, there is always “if Anvisa” approves the answers.

“We are finalizing the necessary documentation to file the request soon and, depending on the return of Anvisa, we will have the product on the shelves by December,” said Caio Abreu, CEO of Entourage Phytolab.

The agency can approve or ask for a complement – and that also depends on how long each company will wait for the result after submitting the paperwork. When Prati forwarded the request, the registration was issued in 40 days, which is considered a quick deadline.

In any case, this year the cannabis market is not yet consolidated as most imagined it would be – offering more product options and prices to consumers.

At the moment, there are only two cannabis-based drugs registered in drugstores. One imported, Mevatyl, from the English laboratory GW Pharma. The other one is Prati. Each one costs on average $462 (R$ 2,500).


(Featured image by 12019 via Pixabay)

DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.

First published in Sechat, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Born2Invest assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Born2Invest is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.

Olivia McCall is passionate about education, women and children’s rights, and the environment. A long-time investor, she covers news about the latest stocks (lately marijuana and tech), IPOs and indices, and is always on the lookout for socially responsible startups. She also writes about the food sector, and has a keen interest on cryptocurrencies.