Labs use websites to reel in consumers

Valéria França
São Paulo

Each day the number of websites aimed to divulge information to doctors and patients about the possibilities of medicinal cannabis grows. They are all sponsored by laboratories, that have found in those tools a way to lay the foundations of a specialized market in Brazil. Today VerdeMed Care debuted. There are at least four competitors on the web.

The network also has the objective to connect the sick to specialized doctors.”The percentage of doctors who prescribe cannabinoids is still quite low. The ailing don’t know who to resort to.” says Jairo Koda, director of VerdeMed Care. “The platform illuminates what the possibilities are regarding each type of treatment. We’ll coach, for example, patients on the importance of buying a medicinal product with a specific concentration”.

Jairo Koda, diretor da VerdeMed Care
Jairo Koda, director of VerdeMed Care - Reprodução

The company invested R$1 million so far and is to receive backing of another R$3 million by 2020. The model will be recreated for other countries. “By December the platform will be available in Spanish for Colombia and then we;ll land on Chile and Mexico,” says Cristina Genaro, marketing director.

The secret of the webpages lies in public adherence. The more doctors and patients who sign up, the bigger the network that is created, increasing the exchange of experience and the support of the site moderators. “We count on associations joining,” says Koda.“If we have a good volume, we’ll be able to import medicines with more attractive prices.”

Mevatyl is the only cannabis based medicine approved by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency that’s available in the country. Indicated for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, it costs an average of R$ 2.500. Oils compounded by neurologists, of a similar effect, are four times cheaper.

The competitor’s experience corroborates that there is indeed a great dearth of information and services. Launched in the 14th of June, the website CanTera opened registration for medical doctors a month ago. “We  already have 220 doctors signed up and 25 prescribing”, tells Marcelo Galvão, CEO of OnyxCann/CanTera.

The labs avail themselves of the interaction to compile market data. “For example, when registering to CanTera, patients are required to fill out a medical history survey, which goes to a database for use in clinical trials,” says Galvão.

The registered doctors have access to the patient histories and to a specific scientific research directory. Cross-referencing data, according to Galvão, helps to ascertain which therapy benefits more each particular case. The platform indicated what are the best products for each course of therapy and the recommended dosages. “It’s a guide. Even if a doctor isn’t experienced with cannabis, the information lays out possible paths of prescription”, explains Galvão.

In two months, CanTera, will provide a new service. Training for journalists and lawyers who want to write about medicinal cannabis. The CEO’s idea is to train people in the specialization so that they are able to disseminate accurate information.

Dr. Canabis stands out by the sheer amount of updated news available to any and all readers in blog form. Most other sites require that you be a patient or a doctor in order to sign up.

Another competitor, Indeov, has a profile aimed toward social welfare and health. The message is encapsulated by the image of a smiling baby in their home page. Mothers are in Indeov’s sights.

“We have a multidisciplinary crew of 20 people to take patients in, clear up any doubts and provide guidance”, says Camila Teixeira, the company’s CEO. “Those professionals follow each patient progress individually. Oftentimes, they give phone support. There is a care in following up before and after treatment. Noone is left helpless.”

Teixeira represents two of the biggest global cannabis companies,  Charlotte’s Web and Elixinol. Indeov also provides consulting services. “We provide backing for seminars and congresses to catch the medical class up to speed on the advances of medicinal cannabis. We have a global mission to dismantle prejudice”.