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Open Access Commentary

Enabling access to new WHO essential medicines: the case for nicotine replacement therapies

Sandeep P Kishore15*, Asaf Bitton2, Alejandro Cravioto3 and Derek Yach4

Author Affiliations

1 Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, New York, New York, USA

2 Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

3 Executive Director of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, (ICDDR, B), Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 Senior Vice President for Global Health Policy at PepsiCo, Inc, Purchase, New York, USA and is the former Executive Director for the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

5 420 E 70th St, Ste 10M, New York, NY 10021

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Globalization and Health 2010, 6:22  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-6-22

Published: 19 November 2010

Abstract

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are powerful tools for the successful treatment of nicotine addiction and tobacco use. The medicines are clinically effective, supported by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and are now World Health Organization-approved essential medicines. Enabling global access to NRT remains a challenge given ongoing confusion and misperceptions about their efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and availability with respect to other tobacco control and public health opportunities. In this commentary, we review existing evidence and guidelines to make the case for global access to NRT highlighting the smoker's right to access treatment to sensibly address nicotine addiction.