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Should the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee extend the range of free nicotine replacement therapies available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

Jan A Robertson, David J MacLaren and Alan R Clough
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (5): 293.

To the Editor: In March 2008, nicotine patches (15 mg per 16 hours) were authority-listed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) as part of efforts to improve access to medications.1,2 Although timely and welcome, the decision to list only 15 mg patches should be revisited, as it is not consistent with current smoking cessation clinical guidelines.3-5 Neither is it consistent with evidence from a 2008 tobacco survey that we conducted in remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

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  • Jan A Robertson
  • David J MacLaren
  • Alan R Clough

  • School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.

Correspondence: jan.robertson@jcu.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

The research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (project grant no. 436012). We thank our co-investigators on this project: Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher and Professor Robert Gibberd (University of Newcastle), Professor Sandra Eades (Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute), and Associate Professor Rowena Ivers (University of New South Wales) and Associate Professor Kate Conigrave (University of Sydney). We also thank Associate Professor Renee Bittoun (University of Sydney).

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