Ole Heil new PR Director
The PR & Communication Team will be strengthened by a heavyweight from The Hague. None less than the current spokesperson for the Minister of Health will become the Head of our PR & Communication Department. His name is Ole Heil and he will take up his new post as PR Director early March. The corporate structure of Bedrocan will be gaining more shape with his arrival.
Ole has been spokesperson at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport since 2012. The medicinal cannabis dossier was part of his responsibility, and therefore he is well versed in the matter. He also has good contacts in the The Hague world of politics that could prove useful to Bedrocan.
Bedrocan has a contract with the Dutch government that runs to 1 November 2019. Besides internal and external communication, Ole will largely work on detailing the contract after that period.
Ole lives in Voorburg with his girlfriend and son, and he will be based in Amsterdam. The existing PR & Communication Team, that is still based in Veendam, will join him in Amsterdam later this year.
GMP training started
This month saw the start of a new series of GMP training sessions that are to be attended by every employee of Bedrocan Nederland and Bedrocan International. This training, which sets out all the basic principles of good manufacturing practice, is essential for all employees. “Together we are responsible for a safe product that works properly, that is suitable for patients beyond doubt or as a raw material for pharmaceutical products. It means that GMP has to be part of all our employees’ ‘system’”, said Gonneke Hulshof, who coordinates and gives those training sessions.
“The idea is that every employee attends the basic course and then completes a test, followed by an annual refresher. All of us need to stay on our toes!”
This week is the turn of a large number of employees at our A5 site, whereas a number of employees at A2 were brought up to speed last week. Either way, the course provides an answer to the current issue as to whether make-up is permitted on production floors. The answer is ‘no!’. And neither is wearing jewellery.
Pharmacies dispense less medicinal cannabis
The strong increase in the use of medicinal cannabis of the past few years in the Netherlands has come to an end. Earlier this month, an article appeared stating that Dutch pharmacies dispensed less medicinal cannabis during the past year. The article quoted a 7% reduction compared to the previous year. However, the use of medicinal cannabis oil did go up. The figures come from the Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics (SFK), which is an organisation that collects and analyses information about the use of pharmaceuticals in the Netherlands.
Should Bedrocan be concerned? According to CPO Jaap Erkelens, this drop was in line with expectations. “It is an after-effect of the abolition of reimbursements by the health insurance companies and the position of the NHG did not work in our favour either.” In 2018, the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG) advised GPs to stop prescribing medicinal cannabis because of insufficient scientific evidence for its effectiveness. GPs should only consider the use of medicinal cannabis for patients in a palliative phase.
Number of prescriptions of medicinal cannabis by public pharmacies per year (2008 – 2018)
Source: Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics (SFK)
Despite the observed drop, the expansion at A5 simply continues and is highly essential. Jaap said “Our growth continues due to the increased demand from abroad. The Netherlands becomes less relevant to our turnover with each passing year.”
A little more oil
Some Dutch pharmacies make cannabis oil from Bedrocan cannabis that is available with different concentrations of the active substances dronabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The number of prescriptions of those oil varieties did increase by +4% in 2018.
Wouter Dijkstra left quietly
Around the middle of January, Wouter Dijkstra left Bedrocan without any fanfare. By now, Wouter has started as Chief Manufacturing Officer (CMO) of PurelMS in Roden, a pharmaceutical start-up that is developing a new inhaler for cystic fibrosis. The move from Emmeloord and Veendam to Roden was made quickly, and consequently Wouter did not have the opportunity to say his goodbyes.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues for a great time and I wish everyone lots of success for the future”, said Wouter, who was happy to look back. To 1 April 2017 for example, when he started as Plant Manager of Bedrocan Nederland.
“The spring of 2017 was a hectic period. Emmeloord had a grass field where construction of a brand-new production site was proceeding at a rapid rate, whilst we were facing staffing challenges at the same time. We needed to take on more than 50 people in Emmeloord, whilst Veendam had a staffing surplus because of the production stop at the A1 site.”
Wouter left us as Clinical Research Manager of Bedrocan International and saw how our organisation produced a culture change from an agricultural to a pharmaceutical company in just 18 months. “I see a good team of motivated employees who are dedicated to making our products available to patients in the Netherlands and abroad. In the background I see people calculating, measuring and planning the commissioning of the ‘second half’ of Emmeloord. I prepared a large number of employees during the interviews back in 2017 and now that is becoming a reality.”
In the Clinical Research Department, Mikael Kowal will take over the baton from Wouter. According to Wouter there is plenty to do in that Department. “Mikael is working hard on preparing a new clinical trial. This trial is a follow-up of a recently published promising study where positive effects of our products were proven in a pain disorder (fibromyalgia).”
Katja and Roelien
Employees Katja Tejkalová and Roelien van der Wal also found new jobs outside Bedrocan. Czech Katja is making a switch in her fledgeling career and is going into teaching, whilst Assistant Legal Roelien is looking to stay closer to home and accepted a job in her home town of Heerenveen. Bedrocan would like to use this opportunity to wish both every success in their new careers.
Changes in HR
There will be a few changes in HR over the coming period. As HR Assistant Janny Homan is leaving as of 1st of March, there is a vacancy that has been advertised externally. Until the new appointment, her tasks will be taken over by Henny Zuur and David Farago. As soon as the new HR Assistant is on board, the tasks will be redistributed. We will inform you in due course.
List of Bedrocan International salary-payment dates
Below you will find the full list of payment dates for your information.
|Thursday 21 February 2019||Wednesday 21 August 2019|
|Thursday 21 March 2019||Friday 20 September 2019|
|Friday 19 April 2019||Friday 18 October 2019|
|Tuesday 21 May 2019||Thursday 21 November 2019|
|Friday 21 June 2019||Friday 21 December 2019|
|Friday 19 July 2019|
We’d like to welcome the following new employees:
|Andrea Lanting||Phone Operator||Veendam|
|Ina Brust||Phone Operator||Veendam|
|Ole Heil||PR Director||Amsterdam|
|Karolina Ostapenko||Key Accountmanager||Amsterdam|