The four-day Global Nicotine Forum 2023 (GFN23) was held on June 21 at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, under the theme “Reducing Tobacco Harm – The Next Decade. The forum attracted senior practitioners, scientists and academics from international tobacco companies, leading international universities, non-profit organizations and research institutions. Two Supremacy, as the official partner media of GFN23, participated in and covered the forum’s key conference agenda.
Mark Dickinson, Principal of ClarityseLtd, noted in his conference presentation that the UK market for medically licensed e-cigarettes has huge potential but is currently underdeveloped.
Mark described it as a high-reward industry whose risks are overestimated by many because most people lack a clear understanding of administering medicines. There are few competitors in this sector compared to the current competitive consumer market. He cited the following benefits:
E-cigarettes with a medical license can advertise the health and medical benefits of the product.
They are not subject to the EU Tobacco Products Directive/Tobacco Products Regulation and do not require restrictions on nicotine content or vape oil volume.
Prescription sales of the product may translate into sales of commercial products, as there is likely to be ongoing purchase demand for prescription e-cigarettes. Consumers may switch to commercial products after exceeding the typical 12-week reimbursement limit. Mark also shared that 50% of e-cigarette users in the UK have been using e-cigarettes for more than 3 years.
As pharmaceuticals, prescription e-cigarettes are also eligible for social reimbursement.
However, Mark also pointed out some disadvantages, such as the need to apply for a new license for any small changes or upgrades to the product.
Prescription e-cigarettes also need to be differentiated from consumer e-cigarettes and cannot use the same brands as consumer products.
Medical e-cigarettes require a completely different mindset because it requires a different sales strategy, different distribution channels, and is considered a completely different product category.
Brian Quigley, CEO of Qnovia, is a U.S.-based venture capital firm focused on inhalation drug delivery. Brian and his company are currently seeking medical licenses for nicotine e-cigarettes in the US and UK.
Brian advises other companies looking to adopt a medical approach to be prepared for something completely different from the commercial market approach. The product should aim to solve a problem and provide a solution. Medically licensed products must have controlled and precise dosing, so each inhalation must be set to a standard output.
The application process is a very data-driven and long journey. Manufacturers need to provide evidence that their product will solve a specific problem or health issue.
Pricing is also a factor that needs to be considered, taking into account the type of person being prescribed and the type of insurance they may have. This will affect the final price of the prescription e-cigarette as well as the ability of the customer to purchase.