Thursday, November 6, 2014

Glen Christian and Henry Lowe stay the course

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Jamaica Observer | MON 3 NOV 2014

Glen Christian PSOJ 2
Glen Christian (right) receives his Citation from PSOJ President Chris Zacca
Last Wednesday two brilliant Jamaican men standing on platforms just about a mile away from each other, reminded us why we must never give up on our country.  Glen Christian, who did not own a pair of shoes till he was 13 years old, was inducted into the PSOJ Hall of Fame at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.  Dr Henry Lowe, whose mother has related to us the early struggles of her family, launched seven new pharmaceutical products derived from Jamaican ganja at his own exquisite Eden Gardens property on Lady Musgrave Road.
Glen Christian, owner of Carimed (also located on Lady Musgrave Road) and Kirk Industries, was described as a man ‘with a heart for people and a mind for businesses.  He explained that he learned the principles of supply and demand from his resourceful mother who would buy produce at farm gates in his native Clarendon, sell them in the market and use the funds to purchase supplies for the small shops in their district of Brandon Hill.  He lost his father at two-years-old, but his mother later remarried Edward Mitchell who was a splendid stepdad.  Photographs of Mr and Mrs Mitchell adorn the Evelyn Mitchell Infant School built by Glen and his dedicated wife Marva Christian at Brandon Hill to honour their memory. 
This is no ordinary infant school – it is actually an amalgamation of four smaller infant schools, and Carimed employee Mrs Cherry Emmanuel (mother of the gifted Judy Emmanuel) has urged me to see it for myself.  The school is a Ministry of Education Centre of Excellence where best practices are ensuring that the young pupils have a great start in life.  The Christians (in name and nature) have also provided a school bus for the children.
Glen Christian was employed as a postman when he first came to Kingston.  The ambitious young man pursued evening studies to qualify for Mico Teachers College, now Mico University.  After graduating, he worked briefly with government and then joined the pharmaceutical department of H.D. Hopwood where he moved their market share from 15 to 85 percent.
At the event, the Christians’ close friend former Prime Minister Bruce Golding related Glen’s start 30 years before, “that glorious history of what we have come to know as Carimed.”  He said Glen had no large amount of capital, but “he knew the chemistry, the background, the pharmacists, the doctors better than anyone else.”  Most importantly, he said, was Glen Christian’s respect for “the human element”, which was affirmed by interviews with several managers who had moved up the ladder at Carimed. 
What a glorious moment it was for Glen Christian, when he became the proud owner of the property and assets at 216 Marcus Garvey Drive – this was the address of the very same Colgate Palmolive where as a postman, years before, he delivered numerous letters. Now you understand why he is so passionate about education, and plans to build another state-of-the-art infant school in Kingston’s inner-city. Congratulations!
Medicanja to go public
Dr Henry Lowe
Meanwhile at Eden Gardens, scientist and entrepreneur Dr Henry Lowe was unveiling seven new products from his company Medicanja Limited, launched only last year and already regarded as a global brand. The products are: rubbing alcohol (CanjaCol), healing oil (CanjaRub), pain-relief spray (CanjaSol), anti-inflammatory cream (CanjaFlam), Arthritis cream (CanjaSolve), sublingual drop (CanjaRelief) and nausea relief sprays (CanjaSure). Next year he will launch more innovative products including glaucoma eye drops (CanjaVase – more long lasting than Canasol), teas (CanjaTeas), and pills (CanjaTabs).
He noted: “The goal and objectives of Medicanja Limited include positive wealth creation, knowledge and technology development and transfer, employment and low cost healthcare products to treat a variety of illnesses – under Brand Jamaica!”
The dedicated Dr Lowe gave us a science lesson as he described some of the major compounds in the ganja plant: “It is to be noted that tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the psychoactive component of the ganja plant, has its own therapeutic potential if properly developed in a formulation, especially with cannabidiol (CBD).”
Folks, CBD is truly ‘green gold’.  Dr Lowe told the audience, “CBD is now, ounce for ounce, on par with the price of gold at US$1400.00 per 28 grams. At this time there is not enough CBD to supply the international market. In response, we have developed CBD synthesis, therefore we can make products either using the plants or this alternative…The sale of CBD will be a major part of our operations.”
With companies now registered in the US and Canada, Dr Lowe will be making an Initial Public Offer (IPO) of shares in Medicanja next year, as he and his team of researchers work to score a share of the growing market for ganja-based products. “It is estimated in our business plan that within the next 3-4 years, revenues from the sales and services of over 18 products from Medicanja Limited’s 6 product lines will be in excess of J$48B (US$429M),” he stated.
Observer reporter Terron Dewar wrote that former Prime Minister P J Patterson, who is a member of the Medicanja board, called for the Government to expedite the facilitating legislative framework.  He quoted Mr Patterson as saying: "the benefits to be gained from the expansion of the medical ganja industry are clear, and any further delays will only serve to destroy our competitive edge".

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