Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Medicines

Consultation Closed

We propose to continue to fund the Habitrol brand of nicotine gum, lozenges and patches supplied by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited (GSK).

What we’re proposing

From 1 January 2018, the price and subsidy of Habitrol brand NRT would increase. From 1 April 2018, a new 1-week pack size would be available to Authorised Providers (see below) and Sole Supply Status and Hospital Supply Status, with a 1% DV Limit for hospitals, for nicotine gum, lozenges and patches would be applied to GSK’s Habitrol brand until 30 June 2020. There would be an option of PHARMAC extending the sole supply period for a further two years.

Consultation closes at 5 pm on Friday, 4 August 2017 and can be emailed to procurement@pharmac.govt.nz

What would the effect be?

There would be no change to the funded brand of nicotine gum, lozenges and patches, which would remain the Habitrol brand.

For Patients

Patients would continue to collect the currently funded range of Habitrol gum, lozenges and patches via prescription, Quit Card or from a community NRT provider as they do now.

PHARMAC is currently consulting on a separate proposal which, if progressed, would enable patients to receive funded NRT from pharmacies, without a prescription.

For Authorised Providers

Authorised Providers include the Department of Corrections prisons, certain health service providers contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide smoking cessation services, and Public Health Units.

There would be an increased choice of pack sizes of Habitrol, including 1-week pack sizes, which would be available for delivery from April 2018 onwards.

For Community Pharmacies

There would be no substantial change. Pharmacies would continue to dispense and claim for the currently subsidised range of Habitrol brand NRT, at the new higher subsidies from 1 January 2018. Purchase price increases would be effective from 22 December 2017.

For Hospital Pharmacies

There would be no substantial change. Hospital pharmacies could continue to purchase the currently listed range of Habitrol brand NRT, at the new prices, from 1 January 2018.

Nicotine solution for inhalation 15 mg cartridge and oral spray 1 mg per dose would continue to be listed in Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule subject to the current restrictions. These presentations do not form part of the current proposal.

For Prescribers

Prescribers and Quit Card providers would continue to prescribe the funded range of Habitrol brand NRT as usual.

For DHBs

The price increases would result in an additional cost of approximately $3.1 million per year to the Combined Pharmaceutical Budget. 

Who we think will be interested

Patients currently using NRT, Authorised Providers of NRT, smoking cessation groups, pharmacists, doctors in general practice, DHBs and suppliers of NRT. 

About nicotine replacement therapy

NRT provides some of the nicotine that a person would have otherwise received from tobacco, and in doing so reduces the person’s urge to smoke. NRT can be used in place of cigarettes after abrupt cessation of smoking, or alternatively to reduce the number of cigarettes used in advance of making a quit attempt.

There are five types of NRT products available in New Zealand: patches, gum, lozenges, inhaler and oral spray. The patch, gum and lozenges are funded in the community. In addition, the inhaler and oral spray are available for restricted use in DHB hospitals but can also be purchased over the counter from some pharmacies. For more information about NRT prescribing guidelines and helping people to stop smoking please visit please visit the Ministry of Health’s website(external link).

Why we’re proposing this

The current sole supply period for Habitrol ended on 30 June 2017.

PHARMAC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the supply of NRT on 20 February 2017. As a result of the RFP, PHARMAC has entered into a provisional agreement with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited and feedback to this consultation will help us decide if the agreement should be finalised. 

Details about our proposal

We propose the following changes in Section B and Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule.

Section B proposed changes

From 1 January 2018:

  • The subsidies for Habitrol (nicotine patch, lozenge and gum) would be increased in Section B of the Pharmaceutical Schedule, as detailed below.
  • New 1-week pack sizes would be listed and restricted to use by Authorised Providers only (for delivery from 1 April 2018).

From 1 April 2018:

  • Habitrol would be awarded Sole Supply Status for nicotine patch, lozenge and gum forms, until 30 June 2020.

Chemical

Presentation

Brand

Pack size

Current subsidy 
(ex-man., ex. GST)

Proposed subsidy
(ex-man., ex. GST)

Nicotine Patch 7 mg Habitrol 28
7
$10.57
N/A
$16.00
$3.94
Nicotine Patch 14 mg Habitrol 28
7
$11.31
N/A
$17.59
$4.52
Nicotine Patch 21 mg Habitrol 28
7
$11.95
N/A
$20.16
$5.18
Nicotine Lozenge 1 mg Habitrol 216
36
$12.91
N/A
$16.61
$3.20
Nicotine Lozenge 2 mg Habitrol 216
36
$14.14
N/A
$18.20
$3.24
Nicotine Gum 2 mg (mint) Habitrol 384
96
$22.26
N/A
$33.69
$8.64
Nicotine Gum 2 mg (fruit) Habitrol 384
96
$22.26
N/A
$33.69
$8.64
Nicotine Gum 4 mg (mint) Habitrol 384
96
$25.67
N/A
$38.95
$10.01
Nicotine Gum 4 mg (fruit) Habitrol 384
96
$25.67
N/A
$38.95
$10.01

Section H proposed changes

From 1 January 2018:

  • The prices for Habitrol (nicotine patch, lozenge and gum) would be increased in Part II Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule, as follows:

Chemical

Presentation

Brand

Pack size

Current price 
(ex-man., ex. GST)

Proposed price
(ex-man., ex. GST)

Nicotine

Patch 7 mg

Habitrol

28

$10.57

$16.00

Nicotine

Patch 14 mg

Habitrol

28

$11.31

$17.59

Nicotine

Patch 21 mg

Habitrol

28

$11.95

$20.16

Nicotine

Lozenge 1 mg

Habitrol

216

$12.91

$16.61

Nicotine

Lozenge 2 mg

Habitrol

216

$14.14

$18.20

Nicotine

Gum 2 mg (mint)

Habitrol

384

$22.26

$33.69

Nicotine

Gum 2 mg (fruit)

Habitrol

384

$22.26

$33.69

Nicotine

Gum 4 mg (mint)

Habitrol

384

$25.67

$38.95

Nicotine

Gum 4 mg (fruit)

Habitrol

384

$25.67

$38.95

From 1 April 2018:

  • Habitrol would be awarded Hospital Supply Status for nicotine patch, lozenge and gum forms, with a 1% DV Limit for hospitals, until 30 June 2020.

To provide feedback

Send us an email: procurement@pharmac.govt.nz by 5 pm on Friday, 4 August 2017.

All feedback received before the closing date will be considered by PHARMAC’s Board (or its delegate) prior to making a decision on this proposal.

Feedback we receive is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) and we will consider any request to have information withheld in accordance with our obligations under the OIA. Anyone providing feedback, where on their own account or on behalf of an organisation, and whether in a personal or professional capacity, should be aware that the content of their feedback and their identity may need to be disclosed in response to an OIA request.

We are not able to treat any part of your feedback as confidential unless you specifically request that we do, and then only to the extent permissible under the OIA and other relevant laws and requirements. If you would like us to withhold any commercially sensitive, confidential proprietary, or personal information included in your submission, please clearly state this in your submission and identify the relevant sections of your submission that you would like it withheld. PHARMAC will give due consideration to any such request.