Medical Vapes and NGP: A market with great potential
On June 21, day one of Global Forum on Nicotine 2023 held in Warsaw, the panel titled ‘Workshop: Medicinal licensing of vaping products and the potential implications for public health’ had a deep conversation on the difficulty as well as the potential behind the medicinal market approach of e-cigarettes.
Speaker Mark Dickinson, owner of Clarityse Ltd, expressed the great potential behind a largely untapped vaping market – the medical licensed vapes in the UK. Mark described it as a high reward approach with risks many have overestimated due to the lack of familiarity of managing medicinal products. It is a space that does not have any real competitors compared with the now over-crowded consumer market for vapes. He listed the benefits as:
I) Vapes with a medical license can advertise claiming health and medical benefits of the product.
II) There could be no nicotine and tank size limit because it is not subject to the TPD/TRPR product requirements.
III) Prescription sales of the product may convert to sales of the commercial product since it is a product that is likely to have strong recurring purchases. Consumers may convert to commercial products after the introduction of prescription vapes after customers have used them beyond the typical 12-week reimbursement limit. Mark also shared that 50% of vapers in the UK have vaped for over 3 years.
IV Prescription vapes could also enjoy social reimbursement as a medicine.
Mark also pointed out some downsides such as the need to apply for new licenses for any small changes or upgrades to the product. Prescription vapes also need to be distinct from consumer vapes and cannot use the same brand as their consumer product counterpart. It will also require a whole different mindset to market medical vapes because it requires different sales tactic, different distribution channel, it should be considered as a whole different product category.
Brian Quigley is the CEO of Qnovia, a venture company based in the U.S. focused on inhaled drug delivery. Brian and his company are currently working on both the U.S. and UK’s medical license for nicotine vapes. Brian advises that other company looking to take the medicinal approach to be prepared to have a completely different mindset to the commercial market approach. The product should be designed with a problem and solution in mind. Medical licensed products must have controlled and precise dosage therefore, each inhalation must be set to a standard output volume. The process of the application is a long journey that is very data driven. The burden of proof is placed on the manufacturer to prove that their product can solve a specific problem or health issue.
Pricing is also something to be considered, taking into account what type of customers will be prescribed and what type of insurance they may have. It will affect the final price of the prescription vape and what the customers can afford. Dr. Jasjit Ahluwalia from Brown University added to the point that 60% of U.S. medical insured population are depending on employer insurance. The rest are under medicare or medicaid and others.
Another benefit to medically licensed vapes is that it may change the public perception of vaping. Recent polls have shown that more than half of the British smoking population are doubting if vapes are safer than combustion cigarettes. With a medical licensed vape prescribed by doctors made available to the population, the public opinion could be changed.
On the second day of the Forum, 2FIRSTS will interview Mark Dickinson on how to materialize medical vapes. Please stay tuned.
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