'Duty of care': Why this GP is reluctantly writing online nicotine scripts

She says the current smoking cessation guidelines are outdated

A GP says she is “reluctantly” writing online scripts for the nicotine used in e-cigarettes because she owes a “duty of care” to smokers.

Dr Karen Counter has joined New Zealand-owned vaping company Nicovape, which allows users to obtain a script for nicotine via a website without seeing a doctor face-to-face.

Patients are asked to answer questions covering their medical and smoking history. Their answers are assessed by a doctor, who then signs an e-script, and Nicovape posts the nicotine to the patient.

Each nicotine script for the equivalent of some 50 ordinary cigarettes costs about $25.

While vaping devices are legal under Australian law, the nicotine used in them is only available on prescription under the TGA’s personal importation scheme.

The TGA does not evaluate drugs for effectiveness or safety if they are only being accessed under the scheme.