3,151 SAS-B approvals were issued in January 2020, down from 3,679 in December.
A single month of negative growth is not a trend, and January and December are both short months with fewer working days, so we're not surprised to see lower than usual approvals. Even with the relatively slower months at the end of 2019, the average monthly growth for 2019 was just over 18%. So we will wait and see what the first quarter of 2020 holds.
There are also a number of reasons why SAS-B approvals might be lower in January, in addition to it being a short month.
First, FreshLeaf understands that increasing numbers of patients are being prescribed compounded cannabis preparations, which do not require a SAS-B approval and are therefore not included in these data sets.
Second, we have seen the number of currently active Authorised Prescribers jump from 22 in December to 33 in January. As FreshLeaf has previously covered, the relatively recent removal of State-level restrictions in NSW has made AP status more attractive to doctors in that State. Patients prescribed medical cannabis by an AP are likewise not captured in the SAS-B data.
FreshLeaf regularly reviews our patient forecast model to incorporate recent trends, including the increasing use of compounders and APs. But even considering the recent months of lower than usual growth, our previous forecasts of 30-50,000 active patients by the end of 2020 still holds, albeit at the lower end of that range.
FreshLeaf Analytics, a division of Southern Cannabis Holdings, is the leading supplier of data about the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia. We have access to medicinal cannabis product, pricing and clinical data sets from some of Australia's leading healthcare companies and organizations including healthcare clinics, pharmacies, product suppliers and the TGA. The FreshLeaf Analytics team provides custom research, analysis and consulting services in the Medicinal Cannabis market in Australia. The FreshLeaf Analytics team can be contacted on +61 2 8203 8741 or [email protected]
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