via OTC PR WIRE -- The landscape for healthcare as we know it will most likely look very different a year from now. New advancements in healthcare technology and the advent of legalized medical marijuana have raised the stakes for companies aiming to capture market share. And everyone from Big Pharma to beverage and tobacco companies are vying for a seat at the table.
In a recent update from Aurora Cannabis, the company cited its growing patient base. Aurora logged an increase in its active registered patients for medical cannabis, resulting in a jump of 250% to 67,484. During these early stages of market growth it's important for investors to note that the healthcare market will no longer be dominated by Big Pharma alone and the pool of new cannabis patients will likely grow as the industry expands.
The global medical marijuana market will touch $55.0 billion by 2024; according to a new research study published by Global Market Insights, Inc*. The report explains that growing demand for marijuana application in the treatment of chronic pain caused by neurological disorders, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and arthritis will help drive the global market growth.
This trend has echoed across borders as well. In Canada, the pharmacy industry is jockeying for position as well. Shoppers, Lovell Drugs and PharmaChoice have signed supply deals with major cannabis producers yet few are taking full advantage of the play on medical marijuana. Other than Aurora, Canopy Growth has also focused on growing its patient base. The company recorded its registered medical patients at 84,400, which increased by 34% year-over-year.
Building from the ground up can be difficult in today's climate and knowing this, other companies are making a play at mergers and acquisitions to up the ante on patient exposure for medical cannabis. Premier Health Group for instance, has taken this approach. Earlier this year the company acquired HealthVue. With this acquisition, Premier was able to instantly enter the primary care clinic and potentially lucrative healthcare technology business.
HealthVue is a group of four Greater Vancouver based fully integrated, paperless and electronic medical record based medical clinics with a 10-year history, 22 healthcare professionals and over 100,000 active patients. Further to this, Premier Health Group has gone steps further. First, Premier signed a binding Letter of Intent to acquire a Vancouver, British Columbia based pharmacy. The Company expects the acquisition to close in or about Q1-19. To add to this, Premier signed a binding LOI to acquire all of the outstanding securities of Cloud Practice Inc.
The significance of this second LOI involves the products that a successful acquisition would bring into the company. Cloud's Juno EMR system is currently used by 287 clinics, over 3,000 licensed practitioners, 1,500 staff and 2,870,000 registered patients. Its ClinicAid processes upwards of $30,000,000 in payments to over 3000 health providers on a monthly basis. Though they are still in the letters of intent phase, if completed both of these would essentially add to immediate revenue opportunities and an expanded patient base of nearly 3 million to dwarf that of its industry competition.
There were 269,500 registered cannabis patients through December 2017, according to data released by Health Canada. Considering that 2018 marks the first year that cannabis is fully legal in Canada, awareness of the drug has surely increased and could end up sparking even more patient growth in years to come.
In other news, cannabis company Tilray opened up a new opportunity for Big Pharma to get its feet wet in the cannabis industry. On December 18, Tilray signed a global partnership with a division of Swiss drug giant Novartis to develop and distribute its medical marijuana in legal jurisdictions around the world.
Tilray Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy said in a phone interview, "If a product comes into a pharmacy with the Sandoz logo co-branded on it, or if a pharmaceutical sales rep is talking to a physician about a product that's branded as Tilray and Sandoz, it lends credibility to that product."
With new initiatives beginning in places like Canada and proposed market expansion happening with things like the US Farm Bill, the legal cannabis industry will certainly be a focus for investors heading into 2019. As the excitement surrounding recreational marijuana has caught attention, it may be the medical side of the industry that secures a larger market share.
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*Global Market Insights Report: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/medical-marijuana-market