15 May 2012

GP believes charges will deter smokers wanting to quit

7:17 am on 15 May 2012

Maori health researcher believes a rise in prescription charges will affect smokers wanting to quit.

From January 2013, the cost of a prescription will increase from $3 to $5 up to a maximum of 20 items a year.

Marewa Glover says the increase will put smokers off from buying nicotine replacement therapy products that have to be prescribed by a GP.

Dr Glover says stop-smoking products are already expensive for some people and says price is a barrier now, particularly for those in lower socio-economic groups.

The Auckland University academic says people are now more likely to think that they can quit on their own.

Dr Glover says the cost is not just the prescription, but also GPs' fees, getting to the surgery and the pharmacy.

The Government says money from the rise in the cost of prescriptions from the beginning of next year will go straight into the health sector.

It points out there has not been an increase in 20 years and New Zealand's rate is a lot lower than England and Australia.