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September 2001 issue Pharmacy Today magazine


All 80 pharmacies providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy exchange cards have been fired from the scheme.

Letters from the Ministry of Health and Quit Group informed pharmacies their services were no longer required but failed to offer any reason. However, ministry senior locality manager Mary McCulloch said the decision was based on "potential" problems.

"Under the current system, there is potential for conflict as suppliers of NRT products potentially stand to make a small financial gain when they exchange cards for the product."

While there have been no problems to date, removing pharmacists from the
exchange card scheme will eliminate that possibility, she says.

The NRT Programme Advisory Group made the decision which was approved by Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.

Auckland pharmacist, Warren Flaunty says the sudden decision is another slap in the face for pharmacy.

In return for a $7.15 dispensing fee, his pharmacy provides staff training, face-to-face patient consultation, follow-ups, and is now locked into a 12-month radio advertising contract, costing $160 a week.

Guild president Gray Maingay has filed an Official Information Act request for documentation on which the decision was based. The change will be phased in by November.


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