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It is encouraging that varenicline is also useful for giving up
smokeless tobacco. In Japan, smoking cessation treatment for nicotine
dependence has been covered by public health insurance since April 2006
and we have been able to prescribe varenicline since May 2008. The cost of
a pack of 20 cigarettes went up on 1 October from 300 yen (2 pounds 25
pence) to 400 yen due to an increase in the tobacco tax. Many patients
wanted to stop smoking and visited the smoking cessation clinic. They
preferred varenicline to nicotine patch or gum. On 12 October Pfizer
announced a shortage of Campix (varenicline) due to an "unanticipated"
level of demand. We are asked not to prescribe Champix for any new
patients until January 2011. I think highly of Pfizer's decision that they
prioritize patients already on the product, but it was a difficult work
for us to apologize to new patients for the shortage of the drug.
No competing interests
10 December 2010
Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima, 738-0052, Japan