On the Burner: Adam Benjamin, Medifarm Founder and CEO

Author: Heather Allman

 

ON THE BURNER— Interview with Adam Benjamin, CEO and Founder of MEDIFARM Party, Ltd.

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Facilities located in Queensland, Australia on The Sunshine Coast
  • MEDIFARM has formed an exclusive partnership with TIKUN OLAM, a first and foremost supplier of medical cannabis in Israel, a brand globally recognised as the pioneer of modern medical cannabis throughout the cannabis community. 

Adam Benjamin, CEO  and Founder of MEDIFARM, Australia 

In 2015, Adam Benjamin founded MEDIFARM, he says, to bring  cannabinoid medical research from Israel, education and global patient treatment options to assist Australian doctors to help their patients with cannabinoid treatments.

Benjamin holds both a Bachelors degree in Science and a Masters degree in International Commerce from the University of NSW. Throughout his life, he says he has  maintained a strong personal interest in medicine and many of his family members are specialist physicians.

According to Benjamin, he is particularly interested in the “commercial aspects of the possibilities of a novel treatment improving patient health so drastically as cannabis does.”

When we first spoke, Benjamin and the Medifarm team was fresh from winning the inaugural Australian Medical Cannabis 2019 Cultivator of the Year Award. Medifarm was also a finalist for Manufacturing and Export in the 2019 Gold Coast Business Awards. 

On a day in the fall of 2019, I caught up  with him as he strolled through one the many MEDIFARM Australian Made cannabis greenhouses. Adam and I had a productive hour-long conversation via WhatsApp, starting with the basics. 

CANNABIS LAW REPORT: What prompted your decision to locate MEDIFARM on the Sunshine Coast of Australia?

ADAM BENJAMIN: It’s where good agriculture meets good healthcare.

CLR: What gives MEDIFARM the edge over your fellow Australian medical cannabis licensees?

AB: We have over 15 years of advanced international Intellectual Property, and we believe we have unique medical cannabis plant strains that have been clinically proven by our Israeli partners at Tikun Olam to lead the world in their medical applications.

CLR: Of which current MEDIFARM achievements are you most proud?

AB: Our innovation and commitment. MEDIFARM is Australia’s first licenced medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing company. We are in an exclusive Oceana partnership with the global pioneers in medical cannabis, TIKUN OLAM based in Israel.

CLR: In summing up your MEDIFARM mission, what would you like to emphasize?

AB: MEDIFARM specialises in plant to patient care, exercises high standards of pharmacovigilance, delivers its best medical cannabis products for patient treatments, and most importantly prioritizes patient duty of care.

CLR: In your experience, what specific benefits and strengths have you seen from using the vertically integrated business model at MEDIFARM?

AB: I see great strength in it, growth in the national cannabis sector, accountability, and complete value of custody from seed to sale.

CLR: What are your first TWO thoughts when thinking of Australia’s current medical cannabis market?

AB: There is without doubt need for more access to medical cannabis and the Australian market needs to innovate.

CLR: The SERVICES sector dominate the Australian market over financing, manufacturing, Agriculture, and trade. But 57% of country’s exports are generated from  the Agriculture and Mining economic sectors. Would you consider MEDIFARM to be in the Services economic sector as much as you are in the Agriculture sector?

AB: Absolutely. We are in multiple Services here at Medifarm:  Grower/Farmer, Geneticist, product development, healthcare, problem solving and conflict resolution with our plants and with people, and patient service, or our highly prioritized duty of care.

MEDIFARM’s primary priorities are both quality cannabis agricultural production through  what we believe to be our high standards of pharmacovigilance and also we need to think about  increased patient service through improved access and care.

PHARMACOVIGILANCE: phar·ma·co·vig·i·lance

/ˌfärməkōˈvijələns/

noun meaning the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use, especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions.

CLR: According to Marijuana Business Daily in September 2019 titled Global Cannabis: Australia: “Business opportunities exist in cultivation, import/export and the ancillary sector—but not retail, because medical cannabis is sold in pharmacies.”

How does Australia’s dynamic globalization and mixed market free economy give MEDIFARM an advantage in having your business headquartered in Australia? 

AB: Regulation by national, centralized TGA, governance. Regulators include the office of drug control and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Licenses over medical cultivation and production, research and Manufacturing are governed by these Australian government bodies. Cultivation licenses are driven by demand in Australia, so currently there is no cap on the number of permits that can be issued by the Office of Drug Control.

We Australian Growers have scaled up production since mid 2019 and our domestic industry is expected to meet demand with some local with some exported product.

CLR: What is the MEDIFARM advantage concerning inhaled vaporized medical cannabis products?

AB: Our strict “Value of Custody” embedded in our seed to sale, plant to patient, vertically integrated company applies to all aspects of our business model: breeding, growing, developing, analyzing, producing, supplying, training, educating, consulting, and researching. This process would be thoroughly finalized before any medical cannabis product is sold over the counter to a member of the Australian public.

CLR: How do you at MEDIFARM successfully maintain focus and execution of world class pharmacovigilance in your daily production of therapeutic medical cannabis prescriptions and sales?

AB: We care very much about, not only our wonderful Australian environment and people, but also about our final medical cannabis product that the patient purchases. We have a vested interest in our plant medicine succeeding for qualified patients who have the medical condition for which we carefully craft and cultivate our cannabis.

We cultivate and manufacture our medical cannabis oils in Australia in strict accordance with TGA Order No. 93 for pharmacovigilance. Our products must be prescribed by an authorized Medical Specialist or general practitioner.

SPECIFICS:

MEDIFARM-AUSTRALIAN MEDIA:

LAWS:

  • Special Access Scheme >

2893, Special Access Scheme Category B

  • Explanatory Statement >

Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93 (Standard for Medicinal … – Federal Register of Legislation

  • Text >

Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93 (Standard for Medicinal Cannabis – Federal Register of Legislation

  • DOWNLOAD >

TGO 93

Therapeutic Goods (Standard for Medicinal Cannabis) (TGO 93) Order 2017

Conforming with Therapeutic Goods (Standard for Medicinal Cannabis) (TGO 93) Order

Reported by Heather Allman for Cannabis Law Report

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Heather Allman


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