In a bid to crack down on excessive vaping among the Aussie youth, the Australian government decided to nip the problem in the bud. From January 1, 2024, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) declared that disposable vapes can’t be imported to Australia, regardless of nicotine or therapeutic claims.
Plus, come March 1, 2024, importing all non-therapeutic vapes is prohibited, including those ordered before. So, no more ordering vapes from overseas with a prescription once the personal importation scheme ends.
On the flipside, starting January 1, 2024, doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe NVPs for smoking cessation or nicotine dependence management without needing TGA approval via the Special Access Scheme C pathway. This eases the administrative process for prescribers and ensures easier access to prescription-only therapeutic NVPs, aligning with a medical strategy to help patients quit smoking or reduce nicotine dependency.
As the TGA plays both good cop and bad cop with vape access, companies are looking for their business opportunities. For instance, digital health company Vitura Health (ASX: VIT) has launched a new vape portfolio—unironically—in support of the new rules.
The Company has added prescription only smoking cessation products to its portfolio on CanView, its distribution platform, just as the crackdown comes round and lofty new year resolutions settle in. These products aim to support patients in their journey to quit smoking and reduce their dependence on nicotine. These products are also known as nicotine vaping products (NVPs).
Vitura’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Rodney Cocks said, “We applaud the TGA for the changes that have been implemented with respect to all vaping products, and we look forward to supporting patients in their journey to quit smoking and reduce their dependency on nicotine. The smoking cessation product offering is another demonstration of the value that can be created on our CanView ecosystem, further increasing the network effect experienced by those using it.”
He added that the roll out builds on the range of medicinal cannabis and psychedelic products now available through the CanView ecosystem and paves the way for further verticals to be added. “We will continue to update our shareholders on the ongoing success of the smoking cessation offering on CanView in a market that is estimated to be in excess of $250m in size, and set to grow further on the back of the TGA changes to NVPs in the Australian market.”
The Company has signed exclusive agreements with a number of leading suppliers who currently provide prescription-only NVPs to the Australian market which meet the TGA quality standards for supply to patients.
Vitura plans to use its successful “first to market” strategy from the cannabis and psychedelics market to help people quit smoking and reduce nicotine dependence. It will offer a variety of smoking cessation products through the CanView platform for pharmacies.
While analysts project the Australian nicotine replacement therapy market to be valued at $265 million in 2024, this estimate doesn’t consider recent TGA changes that might further expand the market.
That said, with vaping so ingrained in the Aussie youth culture, it is yet to be seen how effective the ban would be. For now, however, Vitura has found a way to be on the safe (and perhaps profitable) side of things.
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