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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26258


Senator Allison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 19 July 2004:

In the period since smoking cessation counselling was made a requirement for the prescription of Zyban under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme:

(1) By month, how many Zyban prescriptions have been filled.

(2) In how many instances has counselling been conducted by the prescribing general practioner.

(3) In how many instances has counselling been provided by GlaxoSmithKline - the “SMOKE FREE Clean Start' program.

(4) In how many instances has counselling been provided by `Quit' programs.

(5) How many and which other counselling programs have been provided.

(6) Can data be provided indicating the success of each counselling option in helping people to stop smoking; if not, why not.


Senator Patterson (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Attachment 1 provides a month by month breakdown, for the period February 2001 to June 2004, for the number of Zyban prescriptions which have been filled since smoking cessation counselling was made a requirement for the prescription of Zyban under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This information is also available at HIC's website - www.hic.gov.au. (Note 8465M is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and 8710K is the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.)

(2) The restriction for Zyban requires the patient to indicate that they are ready to cease smoking, and that they have entered a comprehensive support and counselling program. Authority approval would not be given to prescribe Zyban as a PBS benefit unless the prescriber indicated that the patient had taken this course of action.

As part of the authority approval process, the HIC asks the prescriber whether or not the patient has entered into a comprehensive support and counselling program. If the prescriber indicates yes, then the approval authority is granted by the HIC.

Therefore, the number of authority approvals that have been provided by the HIC corresponds to the number of prescriptions, which have been prescribed.

(3) GlaxoSmithKline advise that the rate of patients who are prescribed Zyban who then go on to enrol in the “SMOKE FREE Clean Start' program is approximately 30% which has increased since the change in pack arrangements (which replaced a single prescription for 120 tablets by two prescriptions, the first being for 30 tablets and the second for 90 tablets).

(4) Quit Victoria collates data on the number of calls received by State and Territory Quitlines. It should be noted that this is not necessarily people wishing to speak to a counsellor, as it may represent a call to request a `quit pack'. Since February 2001 approximately 259,939 calls have been made to the Quitline. During this time there was a change in the service provider and for several months there was no data collected or incomplete data.

(5) No data on other counselling services are collected at a national level. Other counselling services include a wide range of private psychological and other services.

(6) No, as there is no database maintained at a national level from which this information can be drawn.

Attachment 1

Zyban prescriptions processed - February 2001 to June 2004

Item

Month

Total PBS Services

8465M

Feb-01

20,122

Mar-01

93,231

Apr-01

51,538

May-01

71,433

Jun-01

38,058

Jul-01

23,054

Aug-01

14,139

Sep-01

10,598

Oct-01

9,870

Nov-01

9,019

Dec-01

6,924

Jan-02

7,840

Feb-02

9,207

Mar-02

9,960

Apr-02

8,726

May-02

9,949

Jun-02

8,680

Jul-02

8,764

Aug-02

7,208

Sep-02

7,005

Oct-02

6,438

Nov-02

5,766

Dec-02

5,310

Jan-03

5,051

Feb-03

5,500

Mar-03

6,015

Apr-03

5,370

May-03

5,567

Jun-03

6,117

Jul-03

5,973

Aug-03

5,505

Sep-03

5,316

Oct-03

5,523

Nov-03

4,967

Dec-03

4,988

Jan-04

4,349

Feb-04

6,065

Mar-04

7,497

Apr-04

7,259

May-04

6,516

Jun-04

6,698

Totals

547,115

8710K

Feb-04

12

Mar-04

1,743

Apr-04

3,381

May-04

3,583

Jun-04

3,464

Totals

12,183