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ASH welcomes move on nicotine replacement therapy

04 Jul 2014

ASH Ireland has welcomed the announcement by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) — formerly the IMB — that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) will be now become available on general sale.

This wider availability of NRT outside of pharmacies should be of assistance to smokers who wish to quit, both in respect to greater availability and reduced cost, which hopefully will now emerge, it added.

The HPRA’s decision to switch Nicorette NRT from ‘Pharmacy Only Status’ to ‘General Sale Status’, follows an application from the authorisation holder. This will be the first NRT product range available for general sale in Ireland. It is anticipated that the products within this range will become available on general sale in retailers in Ireland from later this year — late August or early September, the Authority added.

The decision follows a detailed assessment of the safety and efficacy of several NRT products that have been available in non-pharmacy outlets in other EU countries for some time.

Chief Executive of the HPRA Pat O’Mahony said the switching of NRT products to general sale status was aligned with the Authority’s policy to make healthcare products available at the most convenient point of access for people, where it is safe to do so.

“NRT products have been in use since the late ’70s and are a well-established treatment for smoking cessation.  We have reviewed supporting evidence and experience of NRT use; this includes experience of other EU countries and we are satisfied that it is appropriate to classify them for general sale in Ireland.”

NRT medicines in various forms including gums, oral lozenges, inhalers and patches will be on sale in retail outlets such as grocery shops in the near future.  NRT medicines will also continue to be available in pharmacies.

Consumers must be aged 18 to purchase NRT medicines from retail and grocery outlets and could be asked for proof of age at the time of purchase.

The HPRA advises that the product information for NRT medicines will continue to recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with heart, circulatory or stomach problems should seek the advice of a healthcare professional before taking NRT medicines.

 

dara.gantly@imt.ie

 

 

Date: 
4 July 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times