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Turning over a new leaf

As Rokshaw Laboratories rebrands its medical cannabis division to Curaleaf Laboratories, managing director Richard Hodgson tells Saša Janković what this means for pharmacists and patients.

MHRA-approved Specials manufacturer Rokshaw Laboratories is no stranger to innovation. Co-founded by brothers Jonathan and Richard Hodgson in 2012, Rokshaw joined the world’s largest cannabis company Curaleaf International group in 2019, and by August 2020 became the first manufacturer of full spectrum medical cannabis in the UK.

Since then Rokshaw has been working with specialist clinics and prescribers in the UK to provide patients with a range of formulations of medical cannabis treatment, as well as promoting the importance of education for developing patient access to medical cannabis.

Rokshaw rebrands to Curaleaf

Aligned with the Curaleaf mission to provide wider access and unlock the potential of medical cannabis to those who need it, February this year saw Rokshaw’s medical cannabis division rebrand to Curaleaf Laboratories.

Despite the change in name, the newly badged Curaleaf Laboratories will still be operating under the same MHRA license that has guaranteed the highest quality since Rokshaw’s inception. Changes that customers can expect to see include:

  • The Rokshaw Medical Cannabis website updated to Curaleaf Laboratories
  • Contact details such as phone number and orders email updated
  • Rokshaw medical cannabis division social media profiles repurposed to adopt the Curaleaf branding and handles

What remains unchanged are:

  • The same leadership and operational team driving product and service excellence throughout the business
  • Its MHRA license and manufacturing facility, as well as its quality management system (QMS) that guarantees the highest level of quality with every product
  • The limited company name of Rokshaw Ltd still applies across the organisation, with Curaleaf Laboratories purely a trading name change across the medical cannabis division
  • Existing customers’ account references will remain unchanged

“After an extremely successful number of years in the Curaleaf International group rebranding our medical cannabis division to Curaleaf Laboratories is another exciting step in playing our part in growing the UK medical cannabis market, while still delivering the same high product quality and service”, explains managing director Richard Hodgson. “Our aim is to make it much easier for clinics and prescribers to navigate and access our products, as well as creating a dedicated customer service team to support them.”

Dedicated medical cannabis facility

In the years since its founding, Rokshaw’s manufacturing site in Sunderland has expanded to include a specialised facility for manufacturing cannabinoids in various formulations, from dried flowers and oils, to pastilles and liquid vape cartridges.

“Demand and industry growth led us to add a new manufacturing floor on that site which we completed just before Christmas last year, doubling the footprint and increasing the number of staff, and that’s now been signed off and validated by the MHRA”, says Richard, “which is great for our customers as they know they have access to a dedicated team all in one place who can react quickly to queries and orders, and give them the best possible service.”

Benefits for community pharmacy

As well as ease of access, education and support are key to engaging prescribers and patients, and last October’s Pharmacy Show saw Rokshaw address this issue with the launch of its Pharmacy Partnership Scheme to help community pharmacies enter this emerging area of medicine and provide a private service.

The scheme helps pharmacists support patients who may be eligible for medical cannabis by referring them to specialist clinics for an initial consultation. If this shows they are eligible the patient will be prescribed medical cannabis, with the prescription sent to the patient’s nominated partner pharmacy to order from Rokshaw, with the medication delivered to the pharmacy the next working day. Patients benefit by better triaged access to prescribers, and the pharmacy incurs a fee for the dispensing phase, as well as the margin on the product that is supplied.

An opportunity not to be missed

Richard says the rebrand to Curaleaf Laboratories is yet another commitment to the company’s dedication to helping community pharmacists support eligible customers and patients who may benefit from access to medical cannabis.

“Changing the name of this division to Curaleaf Laboratories reinforces that this is a part of the business dedicated to medical cannabis”, he says. “We've been servicing community pharmacy for more than eleven years so we are well aware how important it is to give pharmacists the peace of mind when they are contacting us that they are in touch with the right people who are experts in handling their medical cannabis query, whatever that may be.”

“We see this distinction of the name change as a signal of not only our intent but also of where the medical cannabis industry is heading”, adds Richard. “Medical cannabis is a rapidly emerging market in healthcare and an opportunity not to be missed, but community pharmacy isn’t benefiting from this on any kind of scale yet. With our dedicated manufacturing facility and on-site expertise we are here to help community pharmacy play a vital role in educating and supporting patients around medical cannabis, while serving them within the professional standards they have always set.”

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