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.
- 1. Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. Positive recommendations made by the PBAC — March 2008. Canberra: PBAC, 2008. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/pbacrec-mar08-positive (accessed Feb 2009).
- 2. National Prescribing Service. Nicotine patches for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Canberra: NPS, 2008. http://www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/publications/nps_radar/issues/current/december_2008/brief_item_nicotine (accessed Feb 2009).
- 3. Latt N, Conigrave K, Saunders J, et al, editors. Addiction medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
- 4. New Zealand Ministry of Health. New Zealand smoking cessation guidelines. Wellington: the Ministry, 2007. http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/nz-smoking-cessation-guidelines?Open (accessed Apr 2009).
- 5. Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Rockville, Md: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public health Service, 2008. (accessed Apr 2009).
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