March 3, 2021

Two drugs to quit smoking will be free from this Wednesday



The Ministry of Health will finance for the first time and from this Wednesday two drugs to quit smoking, varenicline (Champix brand) and bupropion, which can benefit 83,800 people with tobacco addiction problems.

Both drugs are included as of January 1 in the pharmaceutical service, with a budgetary impact of 7.9 million euros the first year, according to Minister María Luisa Carcedo.

Smoking is a public health problem and is the main cause of illness and preventable premature death in Spain (an average of 51,870 is counted every year).

The head of Health has stressed that the success in smoking cessation in people who do it without help is 5% compared to 30-40% in those who follow a specific pharmacological treatment and have psychological support.

As explained by the ministry in a statement, the cost of treatment per day will be approximately 3.55 euros per person in the case of varenicline and 1.03 euros in the case of bupropion (including VAT).

Thus, a person with a pharmaceutical contribution of 40% would pay 1.42 euros / day in the case of varenicline and 0.41 euros in the case of bupropion.

The treatment is extended for 12 weeks and the prescription is carried out for one month, after which its effectiveness is assessed before issuing the following prescription.

Each prescription will be made for one container, which is equivalent to one month of treatment. After that, the doctor, in the framework of the follow-up of the smoking cessation program, should assess the evolution of the effectiveness of the treatment prior to the issuance of the following prescription.

The complete treatment lasts between nine and twelve weeks and public health will finance an annual attempt per patient to quit smoking.

It will be in Primary Care where it is defined which medical professionals will be in charge of this benefit that will be financed by electronic prescription to patients who are included in an individual or group support program and meet the established criteria.

These are: having express motivation to quit smoking with at least one attempt in the last year, smoking ten or more cigarettes a day and having a high level of dependence.

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