Getting to Know - Gavin Sathianathan
Gavin is the CEO and co-founder of Forma Holdings, an international cannabis company which advises, makes investments and operates cannabis businesses. He is also a non-executive director of Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies and a trustee of the United Patients Alliance. Gavin was previously an executive with Tesco, Facebook and Endemol, and started his career as a management consultant at Bain & Company. Gavin has a degree from Imperial College London and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
We have asked our Trustees and Patrons some "Quick-Fire" Questions so you can get to know a little more about their involvement with United Patients Alliance and capture their thoughts on how medical cannabis policy is progressing the UK.
Why do you support patients accessing cannabis as medicine?
Because everybody has an Endocannabinoid System, and cannabis can help patients.
How did you first get involved with cannabis as medicine law change/campaigning?
I've been active in the UK for the past 4 years and supported the launch of the Mike Barnes report in 2016
Why did you choose to get involved with United Patients Alliance?
The UPA is the organisation that I believe is most keenly focused on patients and their needs. I'm proud to be a trustee!
What is your personal background and why is this relevant to cannabis as medicine?
My personal background is in business and technology, but I trained initially as a chemical engineer. I'm particularly interested in the applications of new technologies in cannabis in order to manufacture medicines that are both effective for patients and prescribed by doctors.
What are the most compelling arguments for legal access to cannabis as medicine?
What are the biggest hurdles in the UK to achieving legal access to cannabis as medicine?
I think we will solve the "legal" part in the next few months. The biggest hurdle to "access" is the lack of education in the medical establishment, and the lack of support infrastructure for doctors around prescribing cannabis. We will get there though!
What existing systems/policies for accessing cannabis as medicine would you support and why?
I think that the medical establishment will need to get smarter on the uses of unlicensed/special medicines, which don't necessarily have the currency of clinical trial data, but have shown promising therapeutic benefits for patients.
What are your biggest concerns right now for future medical cannabis legislation in the UK?
We are moving in the right direction finally, but it is all moving too slowly and patients are suffering in the meantime.
Do you have personal experience consuming cannabis?
I've walked through Hackney at the weekend. So yes.
Why is the 2018 UPA Medical Cannabis Patient Survey so important?
We need data to understand how to shape law, regulation, policy, products, attitudes, standards, narratives... this is about trying to figure out how we build an industry for the good of the patients who will use the products. All patients in the UK who find cannabis to be beneficial for their health should complete the survey now.
Thank you Gavin!