Pfizer To Launch 600 Smoking Cessation Clinics In India By 2010

Pfizer To Launch 600 Smoking Cessation Clinics In India By 2010Pharmaceutical major Pfizer is also in line to help smokers who are trying their best to quit this deadly habit.

The company said that it will set up 600 smoking cessation clinics across India by 2010 in partnership with private sector hospitals and clinics.

Anjan Sen, Pfizer India director (pharmaceutical marketing) stated, “We have already tied up with 150 clinics in 17 cities, including Max Healthcare, and are in talks with more hospitals for partnerships. We are also in talks with the government to use this as a treatment option in the 600 clinics that they plan to set up.”

In 2008, the government declared that it will launch same number of clinics.

The clinics opened by the government will use nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) comprising chewing gum and patches, together with counseling to help cigarette smokers curb their habit.

Doctors are of the view that this method has far less success rate as compared to medicine that blocks up the receptors in the brain absorbing nicotine.

Mr. Sen said that the administration will soon conduct a clinical test of the Pfizer drug, Champix, in order to test out its effectiveness.

He also said that after examinations, if the drug meets up certain standards, it will become a part of the government’s anti-smoking programme.

Anti-smoking assistances are insufficient in India.

Nicotine chewing gums and patches, which are sold over-the-counter (OTC) in developed nations, are hardly available in the Indian market.

While some of the drug stores have begun stocking up nicotine chewing gums, patches, which deliver the nicotine straightly to the brain without the add-on chemicals that are present in cigs are available in the grey market.

Mr. Sandeep Budhiraja of Max Healthcare said: “Nicotine patches are not available in pharmacies because there are some procurement issues. So, we cannot prescribe this to smokers. Nicotine chewing gum, which is available, now in pharmacies, has problems with dosage.” A smoker looking to chew gum to kick his smoking habit has to chew 12 pieces of gum a day. Mr Budhiraja feels that drugs, however, give better results and fewer cases of relapses.

According to recent reports, there are about 120-million tobacco users in India, and approximately one million people will die every year from tobacco related maladies by 2010.

The report prepared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated that 80% of the eight million people who will die each year from smoking related illnesses will be from developing nations by 2030.

Last year, the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ stated that smoking could shortly account for 20% of all male deaths and 5% of female deaths aged between 30 and 69.

The report added that men who smoke cigarettes in India cut their lives by 10 years.

“Drugs block the receptors in the brain which absorb nicotine. So even if a person was to smoke while on the drug, he won’t feel the benefit. With a patch, the dosage for each person becomes difficult to estimate,” said YA Matcheswalla, a psychiatrist who counsels people looking to quit smoking. Pfizer is also in talks with Masina Hospital for a possible partnership, he said.