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Canadian drug chains mull medical marijuana

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Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs, two of Canada’s largest pharmacy chains, reportedly are considering selling medical marijuana.

SDM store exterior_featuredA published report by The Globe and Mail this week said Shoppers Drug Mart has made inquiries with medical marijuana suppliers. The article also reported that the drug chain, Canada’s largest with over 1,300 stores, has discussed offering a range of brands, including a private brand.

A Shoppers Drug Mart spokeswoman told The Globe and Mail that pharmacies would be “the safest option” for dispensing medical marijuana.

Other published reports said London Drugs has indicated interest in providing medical marijuana but that Rexall, another leading Canadian drug chain, isn’t considering doing so.

“We believe that it would be distributed — and should be distributed — through pharmacies, where pharmacies can help guide people to use this on a medical basis,” London Drugs vice president of pharmacy and cosmetics John Tse said in a statement published by CBC News.

London Drugs Olympic Village Vancouver store_WEBThe Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) expressed concern about medical marijuana’s health effects and urged the proactive involvement of the Canadian government regarding the possibility of sales via pharmacies.

“The pharmacy community is increasingly concerned about patient safety and clinical oversight regarding the use of medical marijuana,” CPhA said in a statement. “As such, CPhA is currently reviewing its existing policies to ensure its policy position regarding pharmacist dispensing of medical marijuana reflects patient safety in this evolving area.”

The Globe and Mail report noted that companies would need a distribution license from Health Canada to be able to sell medical marijuana and that, currently, it could only be sold online because there’s no regulatory framework for sales through brick-and-mortar retail stores — unless the Canadian government steps in and changes that.


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