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The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless companies.

Today’s infographic comes to us from CB2 Insights, and explores how and why the notorious Big Pharma are interested in the nascent cannabis industry.

Who are “Big Pharma”?

The term refers to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, considered especially influential as a group. To give a sense of their sheer size, the market cap of the top 10 Big Pharma companies is $1.7 trillion—Johnson & Johnson being the largest, with a market capitalization of $374 billion.

So far, Big Pharma has watched the cannabis industry from the sidelines, deterred by regulatory concerns. What we are seeing now is the sleeping giant’s takeover slowly intensifying as more patents, partnerships, and sponsored clinical trials come to fruition.

Could Cannabis be Sold Over the Counter?

The cannabis plant has been used in medicine for 6,000 years. However, there is still considerable debate around the role it plays in healthcare today. There are currently almost 400 active and completed clinical trials worldwide surrounding cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid that makes up 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract.

Cannabis relies on CBD’s therapeutic properties, and recent studies suggest it may be useful in combating a variety of health conditions, such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer side effects

As of 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use. Its potential for pain management has led some experts to recommend it as an alternative to addictive painkillers, with one study of 13 states showing opiate-related deaths decreasing by over 33% in the six years since medical cannabis was legalized.

As the industry evolves, data is becoming increasingly important in understanding the potential of cannabis—both as a viable medical treatment, and as a recreational product. The shift away from anecdotal evidence towards big data will inform future policies, and give rise to a new era of consumer education.

Big Pharma’s Foray into Cannabis

Further legalization of cannabis will challenge Big Pharma’s bottom line, and poach more than $4 billion from pharma sales annually. In fact, medical cannabis sales are projected to reach $5.9 billion in 2019, from an estimated 24 million patients.

Seven of Canada’s top 10 cannabis patent holders are major multinational pharmaceutical companies, a trend that is not unique to Canada.

Company Rank🇨🇦 Canadian PatentsCompany Rank🇺🇸 U.S. Patents
1. Novartis211. Abbvie59
2. Pfizer142. Sanofie39
3. GW Pharmaceuticals133. Merck35
4. Ericsson134. Bristol-Myers Squibb34
5. Merck115. GW Pharmaceuticals28
6. Solvay Pharmaceuticals76. Pfizer25
7. Kao Corporation77. Hebrew University of Jerusalem19
8. Ogeda SA78. Roche17
9. Sanofi69. University of Connecticut16
10. University of Connecticut610. U.S. Health and Human Services13

It comes as no surprise that many pharmaceutical giants have already formed strong partnerships with cannabis companies, such as Novartis and Tilray, who will develop and distribute medical cannabis together in legal jurisdictions around the world.

Data is the Missing Link

While the body of knowledge about the many uses of cannabis continue to grow, clinical evidence is key for widespread adoption.

Products backed by data will be a defining criteria for major companies to come into the market en masse. And ultimately, Big Pharma’s entry could accelerate public understanding and confidence in cannabis as a viable option for a range of ailments, and mark the next major milestone for the industry.

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Mapped: Inflation Projections by Country, in 2024

Global inflation projections look optimistic in 2024, but risks of a second wave of price pressures remain due to geopolitical shocks.

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This map shows inflation projections around the world in 2024.

Inflation Projections, by Country in 2024

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Global economic prospects hang on a delicate balance, largely hinging on the path of inflation.

While inflation looks to be easing, there remains the risk of a second wave of price pressures driven by geopolitical conflicts and supply disruptions in the Red Sea. Adding to this, a stronger than expected labor market could drive consumer demand, pushing up higher prices.

This graphic shows 2024 inflation projections around the world, based on forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

 

Is Global Inflation On a Downward Path?

In 2024, global inflation is projected to decline to 5.8%, down from a 6.8% estimated annual average in 2023.

Tighter monetary policy and falling energy prices are forecast to dampen price pressures alongside a cooling labor market. Below, we show inflation projections across 190 countries:

CountryProjected Annual Inflation Change 2024
🇻🇪 Venezuela230.0%
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe190.2%
🇸🇩 Sudan127.3%
🇦🇷 Argentina69.5%
🇹🇷 Türkiye54.3%
🇪🇬 Egypt25.9%
🇦🇴 Angola25.6%
🇮🇷 Iran25.0%
🇧🇮 Burundi22.4%
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone21.7%
🇸🇷 Suriname20.0%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia18.5%
🇵🇰 Pakistan17.5%
🇳🇬 Nigeria15.4%
🇲🇼 Malawi15.2%
🇬🇭 Ghana15.0%
🇾🇪 Yemen15.0%
🇲🇳 Mongolia12.8%
🇭🇹 Haiti12.7%
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan10.7%
🇹🇳 Tunisia10.6%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan10.0%
🇺🇦 Ukraine10.0%
🇲🇬 Madagascar8.6%
🇰🇬 Kyrgyz Republic8.0%
🇿🇲 Zambia7.9%
🇲🇺 Mauritius7.8%
🇬🇳 Guinea7.8%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan7.5%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh7.2%
🇲🇲 Myanmar7.2%
🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe7.2%
🇬🇲 The Gambia7.1%
🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo7.1%
🇩🇿 Algeria6.8%
🇹🇯 Tajikistan6.5%
🇳🇵 Nepal6.5%
🇰🇪 Kenya6.5%
🇲🇿 Mozambique6.5%
🇹🇴 Tonga6.2%
🇸🇸 South Sudan6.1%
🇱🇷 Liberia6.0%
🇺🇾 Uruguay5.7%
🇻🇺 Vanuatu5.6%
🇵🇱 Poland5.5%
🇬🇾 Guyana5.5%
🇷🇼 Rwanda5.5%
🇭🇺 Hungary5.4%
🇳🇦 Namibia5.3%
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea5.2%
🇧🇹 Bhutan5.1%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan5.0%
🇯🇲 Jamaica5.0%
🇱🇸 Lesotho5.0%
🇲🇩 Moldova5.0%
🇷🇺 Russia5.0%
🇺🇬 Uganda5.0%
🇳🇮 Nicaragua4.8%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea4.7%
🇷🇴 Romania4.7%
🇬🇹 Guatemala4.6%
🇼🇸 Samoa4.5%
🇿🇦 South Africa4.5%
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic4.5%
🇨🇴 Colombia4.5%
🇮🇳 India4.4%
🇧🇼 Botswana4.4%
🇸🇿 Eswatini4.3%
🇱🇻 Latvia4.3%
🇭🇳 Honduras4.2%
🇳🇷 Nauru4.2%
🇧🇪 Belgium4.0%
🇮🇸 Iceland4.0%
🇹🇿 Tanzania4.0%
🇰🇮 Kiribati4.0%
🇲🇷 Mauritania4.0%
🇵🇾 Paraguay4.0%
🇷🇸 Serbia4.0%
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic4.0%
🇦🇲 Armenia4.0%
🇧🇷 Brazil3.9%
🇸🇴 Somalia3.9%
🇹🇻 Tuvalu3.8%
🇧🇴 Bolivia3.8%
🇧🇾 Belarus3.7%
🇨🇲 Cameroon3.7%
🇽🇰 Kosovo3.7%
🇪🇪 Estonia3.6%
🇧🇧 Barbados3.6%
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands3.6%
🇦🇱 Albania3.6%
🇦🇺 Australia3.4%
🇪🇸 Spain3.4%
🇵🇭 Philippines3.4%
🇻🇳 Vietnam3.4%
🇲🇦 Morocco3.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia3.3%
🇦🇹 Austria3.2%
🇭🇷 Croatia3.2%
🇨🇬 Republic of Congo3.2%
🇳🇴 Norway3.2%
🇸🇬 Singapore3.2%
🇲🇽 Mexico3.2%
🇹🇩 Chad3.1%
🇲🇪 Montenegro3.1%
🇱🇹 Lithuania3.1%
🇨🇷 Costa Rica3.0%
🇰🇭 Cambodia3.0%
🇮🇹 Italy3.0%
🇨🇱 Chile3.0%
🇬🇪 Georgia3.0%
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau3.0%
🇮🇶 Iraq3.0%
🇱🇦 Lao P.D.R.3.0%
🇫🇲 Micronesia3.0%
🇩🇲 Dominica2.9%
🇸🇪 Sweden2.8%
🇩🇪 Germany2.8%
🇬🇷 Greece2.7%
🇲🇾 Malaysia2.7%
🇮🇪 Ireland2.6%
🇯🇵 Japan2.6%
🇫🇯 Fiji2.6%
🇲🇭 Marshall Islands2.6%
🇬🇩 Grenada2.6%
🇺🇸 United States2.6%
🇵🇹 Portugal2.6%
🇮🇱 Israel2.6%
🇧🇸 The Bahamas2.6%
🇯🇴 Jordan2.6%
🇱🇾 Libya2.5%
🇳🇿 New Zealand2.5%
🇧🇯 Benin2.5%
🇩🇰 Denmark2.5%
🇩🇯 Djibouti2.5%
🇸🇲 San Marino2.5%
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste2.5%
🇮🇩 Indonesia2.5%
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda2.5%
🇳🇪 Niger2.5%
🇨🇫 Central African Republic2.5%
🇵🇸 West Bank and Gaza2.5%
🇲🇻 Maldives2.4%
🇲🇹 Malta2.4%
🇳🇱 Netherlands2.4%
🇸🇨 Seychelles2.4%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom2.4%
🇬🇦 Gabon2.4%
🇰🇳 St. Kitts and Nevis2.3%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR2.3%
🇲🇰 North Macedonia2.3%
🇦🇪 UAE2.3%
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago2.3%
🇶🇦 Qatar2.3%
🇵🇦 Panama2.2%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2.2%
🇵🇪 Peru2.2%
🇨🇾 Cyprus2.2%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic2.2%
🇹🇬 Togo2.2%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria2.2%
🇦🇼 Aruba2.2%
🇨🇦 Canada2.1%
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina2.1%
🇱🇨 St. Lucia2.1%
🇦🇩 Andorra2.0%
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso2.0%
🇨🇻 Cabo Verde2.0%
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire2.0%
🇰🇷 Korea2.0%
🇲🇱 Mali2.0%
🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines2.0%
🇨🇭 Switzerland1.9%
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico1.9%
🇨🇳 China1.9%
🇫🇮 Finland1.9%
🇫🇷 France1.9%
🇹🇼 Taiwan1.8%
🇵🇼 Palau1.8%
🇹🇭 Thailand1.8%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg1.7%
🇸🇻 El Salvador1.7%
🇲🇴 Macao SAR1.7%
🇴🇲 Oman1.7%
🇰🇲 Comoros1.6%
🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam1.5%
🇪🇨 Ecuador1.5%
🇧🇭 Bahrain1.4%
🇧🇿 Belize1.2%
🇸🇳 Senegal0.3%

Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves globally, is projected to see inflation reach 230%—the highest overall.

Across the last decade, the country has faced hyperinflation, reaching a stunning 10 million percent in 2019. Since U.S. sanctions were lifted last year, inflation has fallen dramatically due to sharp cuts in government spending and increasing dollarization of the economy, which is bolstering the bolivar.

In America, slower economic growth coupled with a softening labor market could ease inflation, which is forecast to reach 2.6% in 2024. While the Federal Reserve has signaled that the worst is over, unexpected momentum across the economy could cloud the outcome. As of November 2023, $290 billion in excess savings were held across American households, which may continue to spur consumer demand.

Over in Europe, inflation is anticipated to average 3.3% across advanced economies. Today, sinking natural gas prices and low GDP growth are keeping inflation expectations at bay.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is contending with falling prices due to property market trouble, which drives about a third of the country’s economic growth. Amid sluggish economic activity, a manufacturing slowdown, and low consumer confidence, inflation is forecast to reach 1.7%.

What Could Cause Inflation to Re-Accelerate?

While inflation shocks driven from the pandemic appear to be over, key risks could drive up inflation:

  • Geopolitical Pressures: Rising shipping costs due to the conflict in the Middle East and Red Sea could continue to escalate and energy prices could increase amid disrupted supply, driving inflation higher.
  • Strong Consumer Demand: Accumulated excess savings could continue to fuel economies, leading central banks to remain hawkish. Persistently high wage growth—which increased about double the pre-pandemic average across advanced nations in 2023—could boost consumption and higher prices.
  • Rising Housing Costs: Shelter makes up about a third of the Consumer Price Index, the biggest component overall. If prices accelerate, it presents key inflationary risks. As of January 2024, U.S. shelter costs increased 6% annually.

So far, the global economy has been resilient. While risk factors remain, inflation projections suggest that the path towards a 2% target is slow, but going in the right direction.

 

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