Nearly a year after medical marijuana went from seed to shelves at nine pharmacies in Louisiana, there is a second player in a market that’s about to get a larger pool of patients suffering from a wide-open range of medical conditions.
Southern University medical marijuana licensee Ilera Holistic Healthcare shipped out its first tinctures and topical creams to pharmacies this month, joining LSU licensee Wellcana Group, which put its first tinctures on shelves last August.
Within two weeks of Wellcana hitting the retail market last year, nearly 5,000 patients entered the program, with 1,500 receiving the drug at prices between $80 and $200 to treat only about a dozen medical conditions.
Ilera is adding competition to a market in which the pharmacies have struggled with high wholesale prices and slim profit margins, while patients have complained about an unaffordable therapy that’s held back its use.
Wellcana has dropped its prices, though undisclosed for competitive reasons, twice now in the past several months to the level of a much more mature cannabis market, and its profit margin for now is “razor thin,” officials have said. Some pharmacies scattered across the state’s metro areas also discounted their prices earlier this year, realizing that many patients weren’t returning because of the cost. [Read more at The Advocate]