Smoking cessation therapy, February 2016

Page last updated: 8 July 2016

Drug utilisation sub-committee (DUSC)

February 2016



To report on the utilisation of smoking cessation therapies subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). DUSC requested the analysis consider the impact of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products changing from Authority Required to Authority Required (STREAMLINED) on 1 December 2013.

Date of listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

  1. Bupropion: 22 August 2000
  2. NRT:
  • 1 May 2000 (Repatriation only)
  • 1 December 2008 (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population)
  • 1 February 2011 (general population)
  1. Varenicline: 1 January 2008

Data Source / methodology

Data were extracted from the DUSC and Department of Human Services (DHS) prescription databases from the earliest available data and continuing to September 2015. It includes data on the item supplied, the quantity, cost to Government, de-identified personal identification number (PIN) and patient date of birth.

Key Findings

In calendar year 2014:

  • There were 373,934 people supplied R/PBS subsidised smoking cessation therapies.
  • 88,527 of those people made their first attempt at quitting with R/PBS subsidised smoking cessation therapy.
  • There were 15,828 R/PBS prescriptions supplied for bupropion; 136,556 for NRT and 335,088 for varenicline.
  • $47.8 million in R/PBS benefits was paid for smoking cessation therapy.

The change in restriction to NRT did not significantly impact the utilisation trends of R/PBS smoking cessation therapies.

Full Report