Medical Marijuana Moves to the Big Time

Novartis to distribute non-smokable/non-combustible medical cannabis products from Canadian firm Tilray.

Canadian company Tilray, which claims to be the first Canadian cannabis company to obtain manufacturing approval from the European Medicines Agency, announced recently that Sandoz Canada, a business unit of Novartis, will be its exclusive supplier of “non-smokable/non-combustible medical cannabis products.” Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. Sandoz Canada indicated that the agreement was focused on Canada. 

Canadian law currently only allows the direct mailing of medical marijuana products to patients, but Tilray anticipates that the regulations will be changing. Once those changes occur, Sandoz Canada will whole and distribute Tilray’s products to Canadian hospitals and pharmacies. As part of the agreement, Sandoz Canada will also educate pharmacists and help Tilray develop new products and dosage forms.

Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy believes that with Sandoz’ formulation and manufacturing expertise with various dosage forms (patches, sprays and creams etc.), the collaboration should lead to new cannabis-based products. He also noted that: “To have the Sandoz logo co-branded on some of our products will help establish trust with patients and pharmacists and physicians who are used to seeing that Sandoz brand on products that they consume and trust.”

Michel Robidoux, President and GM of Sandoz Canada said: “We are thrilled to form a strategic alliance with Tilray to strengthen our portfolio. We are committed to making every reasonable effort to respond to patients’ medical needs by increasing the number of high-quality, adequately dosed non-smokable, non-combustible medical cannabis products at the disposal of doctors.”


Cynthia A. Challener, Ph.D.

Dr. Challener is an established industry editor and technical writing expert in the areas of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. She writes for various corporations and associations, as well as marketing agencies and research organizations, including That’s Nice and Nice Insight.