In December 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced that from today, 1st October 2021, a prescription will be required to access liquid nicotine for inhalation (vaping), following a change to its scheduling.
To manage these legislative changes, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), with support from the Commonwealth Department of Health, has developed guidelines and education to support Australian pharmacists through the transition.
Claire Antrobus, Manager, Practice Support and project lead, explained why such support is required.
“From today, a prescription will be required to access nicotine vaping products. When nicotine vaping products are prescribed under the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or the Special Access Scheme they can be dispensed through local pharmacies.
“As a result of these legislative changes, we are likely to see patients presenting to pharmacies, to access nicotine vaping products via prescription. PSA has worked with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Section, Quit Victoria, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists to develop guidelines and education which equips pharmacists with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage the transition.
“These guidelines outline the pharmacist’s role in providing smoking cessation support and key requirements for dispensing nicotine vaping products, including counselling and safety considerations.
“There are currently no nicotine vaping products registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, so access to these unapproved therapeutic goods will occur via the Special Access Scheme, Authorised Prescriber Scheme or Personal Importation Scheme pathway.
“These guidelines provide information for pharmacists about the key considerations for supporting patients to stop smoking, including the special considerations for nicotine vaping products,” Ms Antrobus said.
On Wednesday night, PSA hosted a smoking cessation webinar for members – detailing the role in which pharmacists will be required to fulfil when their patients seek smoking cessation advice. Upon completion, pharmacists will receive CPD credits. The recorded session can be accessed via this link.