GlaxoSmithKline's nicotine franchise pairs up with smoking cessation app

2morrow COO Jo Masterson

In a twist on the traditional smoking cessation model, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is pairing with 2morrow's SmartQuit app to supply patches to smokers who have already completed the app plan.

Beginning with two employers in the northwest, staffers who smoke and use the SmartQuit nicotine replacement therapy app program can get free starter packs of GlaxoSmithKline's Nicoderm CQ patches, 2morrow co-founder and COO Jo Masterson told MobiHealthNews. She added that several other larger employers have similar plans in the works.

Nicotine replacement therapies are OTC; however, many health insurance plans have quit-smoking programs to help pay for the treatments through doctor's prescriptions. Many state health programs also offer plans that include free nicotine replacement patches, gums and lozenges, although pairing with an app is less common.

Quit smoking apps have flourished in the past few years. They're based on a variety of approaches to behavioral change, but basically, patients follow guidelines and check into the app to mark progress and stay engaged. Methodologies vary, but SmartQuit, developed by 2morrow and Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center researcher Jonathan Bricker, is based on Bricker's developed acceptance and commitment therapy.

In OTC nicotine replacement therapies, GlaxoSmithKline's Nicoderm is the only branded nicotine patch in the U.S., although many drugstores have private-label versions. Its nicotine gum brand Nicorette competes with Reynold American's Zonnic, which gained note as the first FDA-approved stop-smoking aid sold by a tobacco maker when it launched nationally in 2014.

Pfizer's ($PFE) Chantix and GlaxoSmithKline's Zyban are the two FDA-approved drugs to help smokers quit. Both are non-nicotine products. Pfizer co-sponsors the quitting app QuittersCircle along with the American Lung Association.

Euromonitor estimates the nicotine replacement therapy market at about $3 billion in 2015, however, noted in a report that the market is "seeing a lacklustre performance due its shrinking customer base" and projected flat to constant sales through 2020. A Reuters story last year blamed declining NRT sales on the rise of e-cigarette use among smokers switching to those to help them quit.

- read MobiHealthNews' article
- see the Reuters story