As stipulated in the "Priority Prevention" plan announced by Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, the reimbursement of anti-smoking patches will take effect this Sunday, May 20th. Which ones are concerned?
On March 28, the Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn presented the anti-smoking plan "Priority Prevention". The measure provides for the reimbursement of certain anti-smoking treatments, which will take effect on Sunday 20 May. Two treatments are concerned. The first, Nicotine EG manufactured by Eg Labo is a chewing gum that is refunded since March 28th. The second, NicoretteSkin (Johnson & Jonhson), is an anti-tobacco patch whose reimbursement takes effect this Sunday.
Negotiations with laboratories
NicoretteSkin and Nicotine EG will both be offered at a single price: 14.4 euros for Nicotine EG and 28.88 euros for NicoretteSkin. Both products will be reimbursed up to 65% by social security. For comparison, a box of anti-tobacco patches costs between 30 and 40 euros on average per month. Other nicotine replacement therapies should be added to the list of reimbursed products, following negotiations with the laboratories.
Until now, smokers who used nicotine substitutes to stop smoking had only an annual fee of 150 euros, reimbursed after heavy administrative procedures. The Minister of Health announced that the anti-smoking weaning plan, currently reimbursed of 150 euros, would be maintained until the end of the year.
A measure that helps reduce inequalities
Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of daily smokers continued to increase among low-income French people, from 35.2% to 37.5%. Conversely, among the wealthy French, daily smoking rose from 23.5% to 20.9% during this period. The refund will be direct, unlike what is currently done.
Since 2016, smokers who used nicotine replacement drugs to stop smoking had an annual fee of 150 euros. To benefit from it, it was necessary to advance the expenses then to send the order and the bill of the pharmacy to the health insurance fund. This approach helped to widen the inequalities for the most dependent. Indeed, advancing fees could deter people with low financial resources from being treated. The new reimbursement provided for in the "Priority Prevention" plan goes in the right direction.
4 tips to avoid unwanted effects
Be careful, however, smoking cessation patches are not so harmless as one might think, as indicated by the National Agency for Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM). The Agency received "reports of risks of errors or medication errors", of which three quarters resulted in undesirable effects, half of which were even considered serious (ie that can lead to death, which may be life-threatening for the patient and may jeopardize the safety of one or more living donors and / or one or more recipients).
The problems of using anti-smoking patches are mostly related to misinformation or misunderstanding of the product. In this context, ANSM recalls several important tips:
- The patch must not be cut except when the possibility of cutting is specified in the instructions.
- It is necessary to follow the recommendations concerning the place of application of the patch and the modalities of application (the protective film of the patch must be removed before application, it is not necessary to write on the patch).
- Used patches still contain the active ingredient after use, so keep them out of the reach of children to avoid exposure to accidental overdoses.
- The temperature can have an impact on the speed and the dose delivered of the active principle through the skin and be at the origin of overdose. It is therefore necessary to avoid sources of heat (hot water bottle on the patch, hot bath, sauna), to perform sports activities in hot weather, to expose to the sun for a long time or without protecting the patch with a garment.