According to a policy document released by the PSA, vaping products that contain nicotine will only be available in Australia through a prescription from a doctor, through a pharmacist, with heightened scrutiny from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
(TGA is Australia’s equivalent of the U.S. government’s Food and Drug Administration or the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.)
“Liquid nicotine is not currently available through the pharmaceutical supply chain,” reports the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia policy document. “As an unapproved product, pharmacists will need to have clear processes in place to ensure liquid nicotine supplied on prescription and in accordance with the TGA’s approval, complies with the TGA’s product standard for unapproved vaping products, Therapeutic Goods Order 110. The standard includes requirements related to labeling (e.g. warnings and nicotine content), packaging (child-resistant closures), ingredients and contaminants.”
The policy implemented by the coalition government mandating that vapes are prescribed by a doctor will come into effect on October 1, 2021.
“While evidence is still emerging to support the use of vaporized nicotine in smoking cessation or harm minimization, these changes are coming and pharmacists will be there to support patients who present with prescriptions,” notes PSA. “Given the significance of changes to the regulation of nicotine and the high number of people currently using vaporized nicotine, it is essential that pharmacists are guided with appropriate resources including clinical guidelines and practice support tools to assist their patients.”
Chris Freeman, the national president of the PSA, said that pharmacists need to prepare to manage policy changes and support more than 200,000 people who are estimated to be using vaporized nicotine and electronic cigarettes.
“Regulators around the world are rightly cautious on the risks and benefits of inhaled nicotine delivered via electronic cigarettes. Vaping is largely unregulated and overseas its uptake has been largely driven by the tobacco industry,” Freeman said.