Malta’s pharmacies have run out of medical cannabis in Malta, a drought brought about by an increasing number of medical cannabis patients, a limited number of providers and the medicine’s short shelf life.
As a result, Maltese patients who had started a therapeutic course with medical cannabis have been left with no recourse but stay without their medicine, or turn back to the black market.
Francine*, who uses medical cannabis to treat her stomach disorders and anxiety, explained how she successfully obtained her medical license, got her prescription, started her course of treatment weeks ago, only to hit a wall now that pharmacies have told her they have run out.
“I went to the doctor and he gave me the prescription since my application was approved for one month. Then, I went to the only pharmacy which I know is getting the medicine at the moment, and the pharmacist told me it’s out of stock, and that it should come in later on that day around 5pm,” said Francine*.
“She gave me a card to call the pharmacy later on to check. At 5pm I called and she told me they haven’t received anything and should they receive it they will call me,” she said.
“I drove for an hour in traffic for nothing. I got my prescription – can’t take my meds though. Both brands, Bedrocan and Pedanios, have been out of stock, even the last time I went,” she said.
When called today, a number of pharmacies confirmed they were still out of stock
Francine said that she was feeling too sick last night, and ended up turning back to the black market to find medicine as the state was unable to provide it to her.
“I asked for some contacts from some people to try get from the black market, but didn’t manage either, so was left just feeling sick and frustrated,” she ended.
One Maltese doctor explained how his patients were regressing due to the medicine shortage
“Both strains of Pedanios are out of stock for the next week, and patients are getting symptoms again,” Dr Andrew Agius said.
With a number of his patients left in a negative state, and Dr Agius lamented the impact this shortage is having on his patient’s treatment courses, with some patients going without the medicine for weeks.
“I am very unhappy to have started patients on treatment, they are doing well, and now they have to stay without it,” he said.
One of his patients opened up about what he was experiencing
“I had finally found a pattern with Dr Agius where I could make my life bearable but I’ve lost it again as I havent slept in weeks and the pain is escalating. I was without both the Sativa and Indica for 25 days and I cannot take it anymore…” the patient said.
Pharma.MT, the importer of Bedrocan, said that the medicine was still in stock
“We have stock of the medicine, and any pharmacy that has requested it has been supplied. We know some other brands had stock issues, but any pharmacy that requested Bedrocan has been supplied,” a company representative said.
The representative said that any patient that has a prescription for Bedrocan that has not been fulfilled by a pharmacy should call Pharma.MT on 21337008 to be instructed on the nearest, stocked pharmacy to them.