Towards a temporary shortage of medical cannabis in Luxembourg?

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Luxembourg legalized medical cannabis in February 2019 and has since regularly faced shortages. This time, a change in medical cannabis supplier is the cause of a potential shortage.

Alerted to the impending crisis, MP Sven Clement, a member of the Pirate Party, recently brought the issue to the forefront during a parliamentary session. In a direct question to Paulette Lenert, Luxembourg Minister of Health, MP Clement underlined the urgency of the situation. “Only cannabis oils are currently available,” he said, indicating a worrying shortage of medical cannabis in its other forms.

Minister Lenert acknowledged the problem, explaining that the shortage is attributed to a change in cannabis flower suppliers. She revealed that the contract with Tilray, the previous supplier, ended on August 3, 2023. In May of the same year, a new tender was launched and was won by Schroll Medical, a pharmaceutical company Danish.

To bridge the transition period between suppliers, a large order for medical cannabis was placed in July. This order, however, did not materialize, leaving the country in a vulnerable position. Minister Lenert explained: “The order has not arrived and the new cannabis supplier also needs some time before it can supply a sufficient quantity. Cannabis flowers are produced specifically for the Luxembourg market.”

Minister Lenert indicated that new deliveries of medical cannabis are expected for the end of October and the month of November.

In the meantime, Minister Lenert assured that there was a sufficient stock of cannabis oils, which should make up for the supply gap. The situation has nevertheless sparked discussions about the need for a more stable and resilient supply chain for medical cannabis in Luxembourg.

The shortage is also a direct result of the growing demand for medical cannabis, with prescription rates increasing in recent years.

In 2020, a year after the legalization of medical cannabis, Luxembourg patients were prescribed 140 kg of cannabis. In 2021, this figure doubled to 283 kg. The country had already had to urgently purchase several dozen kilos of medical cannabis at prohibitive prices to compensate for the lack of stock.

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