Feb 26, 2020 - Health

Cannabis-based drug is going mainstream

A white box of Epidiolex with a brown vial and syringes.
Epidiolex has a list price of $1,310 per bottle. Photo: GW Pharmaceuticals

Sales of the epilepsy drug Epidiolex hit almost $300 million in 2019, GW Pharmaceuticals reported Tuesday. Sales are expected to surpass a half-billion dollars this year as the drug gains more insurance coverage in Europe.

Why it matters: Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved medication made from a substance in cannabis, and it's starting to take off.

Where things stand: Epidiolex got off the ground in 2018, and more doctors started to prescribe the medicine in 2019. Roughly 60% of patients taking Epidiolex are kids who suffer from rare diseases that cause seizures.

  • New launches in Germany, the U.K., France, Spain and Italy will help almost double Epidiolex sales this year, according to Wall Street analysts.
  • It also doesn't hurt that GW Pharmaceuticals raised the list price of Epidiolex by 6% this past January, from $1,235 per 100 mL bottle to $1,310 — even though nothing about the drug changed.

Go deeper: Pharma starting to see green with cannabis

Go deeper