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Smoking

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons), Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of smoking cessation treatments (a) varenicline, (b) bupropion and (c) nicotine replacement therapies in each of the last three years.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Information is only available centrally on the cost of smoking cessation medication that has been dispensed to National Health Service patients using the FP10 prescription form. There are various other routes in which such medication can be supplied to a patient from the NHS including from community pharmacies via voucher schemes and a direct supply to patients from a Patient Group Direction.

The following table provides the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) of smoking cessation medication where they have only been dispensed in the community via an FP10 form in England in the specified years.

All pharmacotherapies

Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)

Bupropion

Varenicline

NIC (£000)

2015/16

33,218

15,672

814

16,732

2016/17

28,487

13,376

832

14,279

2017/18

26,017

12,038

889

13,090

Source: NHS Digital published Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England - April 2017 to March 2018

Notes:

1. Prescriptions are written on a prescription form known as a FP10. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.

2. The NIC of all pharmacotherapies is the basic cost of the treatments and does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charge income

3. All pharmacotherapies includes NRT, bupropion (including branded medicine Zyban) and varenicline (including branded medicine Champix)

4. This information was obtained from the Prescribing Analysis and CosT (PACT) system, which covers prescriptions prescribed by general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and others in England and dispensed in the community in the United Kingdom. Prescriptions written in England but dispensed outside England are included. Prescriptions written in hospitals /clinics that are dispensed in the community, prescriptions dispensed in hospitals, dental prescribing and private prescriptions are not included in PACT data.

5. Financial figures presented do not take into account inflation and are presented in cash terms only.

6. Prescribing data presented in statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services excludes data on drugs supplied direct to patients without prescriptions. Services such as Stop Smoking Services can supply NRT, either direct to patients or through vouchers redeemable at pharmacies. In addition, stop smoking prescription medications can be issued on behalf of these services by pharmacists through Patient Group Directions. These supplies are not recorded in national prescriptions datasets and are also excluded.

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