THE AUSTRALIAN: Psychedelics import deal struck as activists move ahead of regulators

Correction Notice: We wish to correct an inaccuracy reported yesterday in the following article published in The Australian, which claimed that Optimi Health has been granted a “permit to export” MDMA and psilocybin capsules. At this time, Optimi Health has not received such an export permit. As stated in our press release on May 29, 2024, we have “secured an import permit” from Mind Medicine Australia, which will be used to apply for an export permit at a future date. We appreciate your understanding.

Written by Natasha Robinson, Health Editor, Sydney, Australia

A deal that paves the way for Australia’s biggest importation of psychedelic drugs has been struck by a charity pushing the therapy, with a Canadian manufacturer pledging to “provide financial assistance to marginalised Australians” to help them access MDMA and psilocybin.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer Optimi Health has been granted a permit to export MDMA and psilo­cybin capsules to supply authorised prescriber psychiatrists after Australia became the first in the world to change its drugs’ scheduling to permit the prescribing of MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

The charity Mind Medicine Australia has an exclusive supply agreement with Optimi. About 160 doses of psychedelics will arrive in Australia imminently but there are currently no approved products containing psilocybin or MDMA, including these imports, that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has evaluated for quality, safety and efficacy.

Ten Australian psychiatrists have authorised prescriber status, with many more having completed training programs provided by MMA, which lobbied the TGA vigorously for the change in scheduling.

The first patients underwent psychedelic therapy this year.

The charity, headed by opera singer Tania de Jong and her investment banker husband Peter Hunt, has set up various commercial entities including a small pharma subsidiary that receives the drugs in Australia and distributes them domestically to an MMA-created pharmacy network connected to Australian prescribers.

READ MORE: Evidence ‘not there’ to back psychedelic drugs | New push to explore deeper into our minds |

The moves towards commercialisation of psychedelic drugs by the charity’s founders has sparked controversy within the ranks of mainstream psychiatry.

Many are critical of such organisations controlling the import, distribution and sales of a single drug, as well as the professional training of clinicians. These trends are also firmly in the sights of medical regulators.

MMA has moved to establish a Patient Support Fund to assist people to access psychedelics, in the absence of any government subsidies for the therapy.

Optimi Health, which is the largest certified psychedelics manu­facturer in the world, says it will be contributing to the assistance fund, which will support those on low incomes and marginalised patients to access psychedelic therapy. It is planned that the fund will subsidise up to 50 per cent of the treatment of eligible patients.

A course of psychedelic treatment now costs between $10,000 and $15,000, with much of the cost associated with the requirement for two clinicians to be present for many hours over the therapy’s course of three all-day sessions, in which patients take psychedelics and then receive psychotherapy in an altered brain state.

Optimi said it was contractually obliged under its partnership with MMA to provide Australia with the lowest-cost psychedelic drugs. “Affordability and accessibility is the backbone of our partnership; we intend to deliver on that commitment by offering MDMA and psilocybin capsules at the most cost-effective price in the market,” Optimi chief executive Bill Ciprick said.



Natasha Robinson began her career at The Australian in 2004. A Walkley awards finalist and a Kennedy Awards winner, she was appointed Health Editor in 2019, and has covered rounds including national affairs, indige… Read more




Investor Relations
Phone: +1 (902) 880 6121


Investor Relations
Phone: +1 (902) 880 6121


Products do not contain psilocybin

Get news & updates directly to your inbox.
Interested In Optimi? Let's Talk.