Shoppers Drug Mart, one of the largest medical cannabis platforms in Canada, announced today its plans to transition out of the business, effective May 15, 2023.
The Medical Cannabis by Shoppers platform will be transferred to Canadian pharmaceutical company Avicanna over the next three months. First licensed in late 2018, the platform was launched in Ontario in January 2019 and later expanded into other provinces. Shoppers is owned by retail giant Loblaws.
“We are grateful for the trust placed in us by our medical cannabis patients over the past few years, and are confident we’ve found the right partner in Avicanna to continue to support them,” said Jeff Leger, President, Shoppers Drug Mart. “As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end.”
Medical cannabis in Canada is managed federally, with individuals able to register—once authorized by a medical professional—to order from one or more producers through an online platform. Shoppers Drug Mart, and several other similar businesses, offer patients the ability to register with one single platform while accessing different products from an array of producers who sell through them.
Medical Cannabis by Shoppers provides patients access to medical cannabis products from more than 30 licensed cannabis brands from around the country. According to a company press release, it has served tens of thousands of medical cannabis users over the past four years.
As part of the transition, Avicanna says it plans to introduce a new medical cannabis care platform designed to “enhance the patient journey.” The website, MyMedi.ca, will have pharmacist-led patient support programs and aims to provide a similar product portfolio including various formats, brands, and competitive pricing.
“We are thankful to be selected as the partner for this transition and look forward to introducing MyMedi.ca, with a view towards supporting patients and facilitating continuity of care,” said Aras Azadian, CEO, Avicanna.
“We are motivated towards furthering the work started by Shoppers to create Canada’s leading independent, comprehensive medical cannabis platform and continuing our efforts towards advancing access to medical cannabis and its long-term incorporation into the standard of care.”
AviCanna’s products have also been carried by Shoppers Drug Mart. In late 2022, AviCanna launched its medical cannabis education portal, ”Avicenna Academy,” a no-cost resource and medical education portal for Health Care Professionals (“HCPs”) designed to help support HCPs through education and practical information with respect to the potential use of medical cannabis.
AviCanna was previously affiliated with a production facility in Colombia, although their products are created in Canada with Canadian cannabis.