CHANELLE McCoy is on the verge of making history with Europe's first licensed cannabis-based food product but has criticized the Government, HSE, Nphet and others for leaving Irish businesses in a mess.
The Dragon's Den investor has spent more than five years and €1.5 million developing Pureis CBD, which she says will improve everything from the way we sleep to how we manage anxiety and joint pain .
She told the Irish Sun: "The holy grail is for a CBD company to get the new food license, we all strive for that. That's not like launching a bottle of wine in the wine category. It's like the introduction of a new category came called ".
But because it's also heavily involved in antigen and antibody testing, it has also accused the government of failing the country with poor leadership on vaccines and testing.
He also shared how:
• BANKS don't allow you to open an account and Facebook doesn't allow you to post ads as they treat CBD “like pornography”.
• As UK supermarkets prepare to work with Boots to stock their CBD, it is banned from selling it here in Ireland, where some 'cowboys' used to operate.
•The government should have had the nerve to demand that Pfizer and Ireland-based AstraZeneca give us four million vaccines, but they let people down and
• The HSE rejected five million of their antigen tests last October because they received them "free from Europe"; then, six months later, he again asked her to resubmit her proposal.
The wife of major broker AP McCoy has been in the pharmaceuticals industry for over 20 years, previously on the board of her family, Chanelle Pharma in Galway.
credibility of the CBD
Since 2015, McCoy has been developing a CBD dietary supplement with her partner Caroline Glynn, trying to give credibility to an industry she says has a bad rap for some "cowboys" selling products that get people high. .
They expect synthetic pure rice that mimics cannabis DNA and contains 0% THC to be approved as a novel food in the EU and UK later this year.
It was listed this week as one of three CBD products officially allowed to remain on sale in the UK.
She said: "The reason they wanted studies on CBD is because they classified it as a novel food, meaning it was never in the food chain before 1997.
"It's like a new molecule for our bodies and they want you to prove it's safe. We rely on many years of clinical studies and the right raw material.
"That's why it took us 5 years. We expected to shine, but we got very frustrated when we saw that many CBD companies in the market were charging sky-high prices for the product with no real meaning behind it.
“A study published last year brought 30 products to market, independently tested them, and 55% of them had illegal levels of THC.
"That's why people are worried because there are some dishonest traders who are deceiving the consumer. We need to demystify CBD.”
NOTHING HAPPENS IN IRELAND
McCoy's case is under investigation by EU and UK health authorities and as of January his company is the only one fully screened in both cases, meaning Pureis is available in more than 1000 retailers in the UK.
In Ireland, however, calls for assistance from the Food Safety Authority, like the British were doing, fell on deaf ears.
She said: "They are following Europe so they won't let us get into the Irish market until we get our new food licence.
"We told the Food Standards Agency come on guys we're the only ones with clinical studies that show we're safe, y'all let them negotiate but they won't let us negotiate?
“We feel a little ripped off that they should take all other products off the market and tell them to go with what we have.
"And they didn't, which is very disappointing, especially as the UK Government has been so supportive of us.
“Even though we are pioneers in Europe. An Irish company may be the first company to receive this new food licence, which is wonderful.
“We are the only ones with a security guarantee. Why shouldn't the Irish consumer go to Boots and buy from us?
An FSAI spokesman said: “The product in question is an established novel food and is already in the EU and UK novel food authorization schemes but has not yet been authorised.
"Only novel foods that have been authorized and included in the Union list may be placed as such on the Union market or used in food.
"When it comes to the cannabis products market in Ireland, the FSAI works closely with the HSE Environmental Health Service to ensure that only safe and licensed products are available in Ireland."
COME NEAR YOU FOR A BEER?
EUROPE will inevitably follow the US when it comes to using CBD in common edibles, they say.
Across the Atlantic, CBD can be found in everything from toothpaste to beer, but Europe isn't quite there yet.
McCoy explained: “We have oil capsules at the moment, but once we have a new food license fully approved, things will be really exciting.
“Then we can turn our raw material into edibles. We keep looking at states for trends, what happens there comes here.
“Look at the water companies, Heineken, cookies, chocolate, toothpaste, it's in so many things in the United States. It will come here.
“CBD of the future will be caffeine-like, you'll see it as an ingredient in a lot of edibles.
“They will say why you wear it. It has wellness benefits, so why not wear it?”
The Galway woman says CBD's bad reputation dates back to the early days when "people came to buy CBD and had psychoactive experiences with it."
I CAN'T OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
In many ways, that early legacy lives on.
She explained: “We cannot open a bank account. We are unable to get a payment gateway for our website. Facebook and Instagram do not allow us to advertise. It is treated as pornography.
“I can be listed on the London Stock Exchange if I want, but I cannot open a bank account in England or Ireland.
“These financial services providers need to wake up and think, think, wait, there are some adults coming into the CBD space who are really doing the right thing, so we have to support them.
“It took us 14 months to push Amazon and finally we will be on the list in 2 weeks but they also banned CBD.
"This goes back to some of the jeans that were on the market in the early days and the banks, Facebook and Twitter have all said we're not going to take chances on any of them.
"I was on Strype, these two guys are Irish, but it was 'the computer says no'.
"They are losing."
BY VITAMIN C
She explained: “Look at the CBD market in the UK, 8 million people are taking it as a dietary supplement. The market is worth £450m compared to £115m for vitamin C and £145m for vitamin D.
"It completely eclipses vitamins C and D combined, but it's still in its infancy. It will grow to £1bn in 3 years.”
And yes, the often-enthusiastic AP has found the product that Chanelle says, unlike vitamins, makes people feel physically different - great for their aching bones!
HOW IT WORKS?
MCCOY's company has invested millions of dollars in a study on insomnia to demonstrate the wellness benefits of CBD.
She said: "If you're taking vitamin C, you're doing it because it's supposed to be good for you. You don't necessarily feel the difference in your body, you just think it's the right thing to do."
“If you take CBD the answer is people take it because they have joint mobility, pain and arthritis and it's a powerful anti-inflammatory so they physically feel different.
“Other people take it to sleep. Others for anxiety, irritability, and general coping.
“We're doing a study on insomnia right now, which is very exciting. We get great feedback on sleep, both sleep and less disturbed sleep.
“Ours don't contain any sedatives, it's just CBD, but the answer is that people fall asleep and it takes the rush out of their heads.
"We want to back that up by showing that this is right in a clinical setting, and we've invested millions to do that."
McCoy said: "Doctors and pharmacies still lack openness about CBD, they don't respect it, they don't care when we speak to it.
"It's only when the big pharma come into space that they're going to say, wait here, now we have Pfizer or whatever, if the doctors and the government (care)."
Last October, Chanelle McCoy Health offered to make five million antigen tests available to the HSE for less than €4 each as part of the Covid-19 solution.
BAD GOVERNMENT ON VACCINES
She was extremely frustrated with what followed and the government's performance on vaccines.
She said: "I've reached out to a lot of really big people in Government and explained how we literally averted business closures in the UK in October.
“We had so many case studies, mass testing at the Battersea factory doing 1,500 builders a week, so many examples where CEOs said if we didn't have their antigen test we would have to close.
“We share all this with the government. Yes there is no silver bullet but I really saw very poor leadership and a lack of decision making in the Irish government at the time.
“How two or three people with big voices can really make a negative impact and still make a negative impact.
"It's perfectly fine for us in England because the infection is under control, but also because Boris Johnson is giving every company and person in the UK two free antigen tests a week.
“They made home kits, my daughter, 13, comes home from school every week, she has two Covid tests in her bag and makes them herself.
“If the Irish Government had shown the right leadership and courage in October, November and December we would not be in the situation we are in.
“It's the same with any company, you have poor, ineffective leadership with no decision making.
“They didn't get vaccines and didn't allow antigen testing. So they did nothing.
“I think the Irish government has a particularly good seat at the European table, it's one of the biggest drug makers in the world.
"EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF"
“You have Pfizer, Astra. You only pay 12.5% tax.
"Here saves itself, who can.
"The Irish government should bang on the table and say, 'Guys, we're doing so much for you, we only want 4 million'. That's all'.
“They should have been very aggressive and very brave when they spoke to Pfizer and Astra because they had a better hand to play than anyone else in Europe and they should have taken a risk against any other European country.
"Why not? You only have one chance. Go straight to the CEOs. They were the ones they dealt with when the IDA brought these companies to Ireland.
“Who cares (if that upsets European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen)? Next year there will be another Ursula von der Leyen and other heads of state from European countries.
“You have to be brave here and fight for your people.
"That's what Johnson did, he didn't want to upset everyone, he just said 'I'm going to fix my own country.
“And Ireland didn't show that. The other leaders did, they would be jealous and they would suck and you would make the people of Ireland say you shouldn't have gone against the tide."
"No! There are companies that are losing money, we are going to have a big hangover in Ireland, mass unemployment, mental health issues as people have suffered significantly and it didn't have to happen.”
HSE ANTIGEN CHALLENGES
McCoy almost laughs at the thought of the antigen testing offer.
She said: "The HSE said we assessed and passed their test. We were one of 3 out of 40 approved to be tested by the UK Government.
"They said great but they said we don't actually buy it because we get a free load from Europe.
"I said great. It was November, I'm so happy for you.
“I came back in January and said where is the antigen you get free do you need more? "Oh no, we're still checking."
“Yesterday we received an email asking if we would like to bid again.
“I've been talking to these guys since October and they came to me at the end of April and asked if I would like to bid again.
"And where is the evidence from Europe?"
The HSE said it received 528,500 tests from a centrally funded EU initiative.
A spokesman said: “HSEProcurement has contacted all remaining bidders in the process to ask if their tests are CE marked for asymptomatic use and for home testing.
“The HSE tender is in an advanced stage of completion.
Read more about the Irish sun
"However, the HSE currently stocks more than enough healthcare antigen tests."
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