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Sativex cancer pain treatment goes on sale in Canada

GW Pharmaceuticals and co-marketing partner Bayer say that Health Canada has approved its cannabinoid-derived treatment Sativex as an adjunctive analgesic treatment in adults with advanced cancer pain

UK-headquartered GW Pharmaceuticals and co-marketing partner Bayer Inc, a subsidiary of German pharmaceutical firm Bayer, has revealed that Health Canada approved Sativex, a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical treatment, as adjunctive analgesic treatment in adult patients with advanced cancer pain.

Sativex is approved for treatment during the highest tolerated dose of strong opioid therapy for persistent background pain. It is also currently the only marketed pharmaceutical product derived from components of the cannabis plant and administered through a buccal spray.

Health Canada approved Sativex with conditions under the Notice of Compliance with Conditions policy (NOC/c). This authorisation reflects the promising nature of the clinical evidence which will be confirmed with further studies.

Health Canada approved Sativex for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) under the NOC/c policy in 2005.

Dr Geoffrey Guy, GW's chairman, said: "GW is delighted to receive Health Canada's regulatory approval for Sativex in the relief of cancer pain. Sativex has been shown to provide important pain relief to the most high need patients with advanced cancer. We are pleased to be able to offer the prospect of an improved quality of life for people who previously had little such opportunity."

Philip Blake, president and CEO of Bayer Inc, said: "Bayer HealthCare is committed to putting the needs of patients first and is very pleased that Sativex can now be used to manage cancer pain in Canada. Health Canada's approval of Sativex is further recognition of the important role this medicine can play in effective pain treatment."

7th August 2007

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