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“Increasing awareness of medical cannabis is the biggest challenge —and my number one priority.”

Pierre Van Weperen

Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes are back with a new episode of the What’s Your Why podcast.

This month, Hannah and Mike speak to Pierre van Weperen, CEO of Grow Pharma, a joint venture between GROW Group and IPS Pharma in the UK.

Pierre joined GROW Group in 2019, with more than 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, which took him from his home in the Netherlands, to Germany, France and eventually the UK, where he has called home since 2007.

Starting out as a medical rep in the 1990s, Pierre has held senior sales, marketing and leadership roles in a number of top 10 global pharmaceutical companies. Before joining GROW, he managed commercial services for Ashfield Healthcare (the UK’s largest pharmaceutical outsourcing provider) which where he started working with medical cannabis in early 2019.

In this candid interview, Pierre speaks openly about how his personal struggles have given a sense of optimism and a drive to improve things in everything he does, whether that’s for his own loved ones or patients more generally. That is also why he is chairman of the board of the Dutch MS patient association.

He speaks about how this inspires GROW’s focus on the patients who can benefit from medical cannabis and the work by his team to drive awareness, lobby for regulatory changes, and source the best products and innovations for patients and prescribers.

“Increasing awareness is the simplest, biggest challenge. We know that there are hundreds of thousands of people using medicinal cannabis, so for me the number one priority is how do I get to those people and let them know that you can get a prescription?
Once patients drive demand more doctors will be willing to prescribe. We’ve seen that in the pharmaceutical industry.
Doctors say to me, ‘I know it works but I also want it to be safe’, convincing people, or giving people the confidence to prescribe, is the best thing that we can do. We have a lot of conversations where we help doctors on the trajectory towards doing that… If we do all these things right, it will happen.”

Hear more from Hannah and Mike’s interview with Pierre below or via your usual podcast app.

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