Australian pharmacy says a definite 'no' to tobacco companies on e-cigarettes

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Australia's peak pharmacy organisations say they will not allow tobacco companies to involve themselves in the development of the profession.

As of last Friday, and under changes implemented by the TGA, Australian pharmacists have been able to dispense nicotine e-cigarettes to people with a prescription.

These nicotine products have been scheduled as 'prescription only medicines' (schedule 4). The products have the appearance of being medicine. They are even dispensed with a Consumer Medicines Information leaflet.

BioPharmaDispatch is aware of approaches made by the representatives of tobacco companies to medical education providers and related entities seeking to support Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs for pharmacy, specifically in relation to nicotine e-cigarettes.

The Pharmacy Guild and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) are authorised to accredit CPD training programs for the profession and both have ruled out the involvement of tobacco companies.

"The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is totally opposed to any tobacco company being involved in the training of pharmacists. Pharmacists are committed to the health and wellbeing of their communities and the involvement of tobacco companies in their training is contrary to these principles," said the Guild in a statement.

The PSA said, "In regards to any potential funding, PSA has a robust sponsorship and advertising policy that would prevent this scenario, and PSA does not condone receiving funding from tobacco companies. PSA also does not condone tobacco companies providing support for CPD."

The position leaves the door open to non-tobacco nicotine e-cigarette makers supporting CPD training programs. NPS MedicineWise has published resources, including podcasts, explaining last week's changes.