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Many May Be Eligible for Free PrEP in England

England Prep

Thanks to an appeal by the High Court, the National Health Service is forced to consider funding PrEP. 

The National Health Service of England will now have to make a decision about funding PrEP, a once-a-day pill preventing HIV infection, after an appeal claiming it couldn’t legally fund the drug was denied by the High Courts.

In a case with the National AIDS Trust last August, it was ruled that officials at the NHS were “wrong” claiming they couldn’t fund PrEP. Their argument at the time was that its role was to treat people already infected, rather than those who seek medication for prevention. That, they said, should be left to local councils.

Unsurprisingly, the NHS appealed the ruling, but this week three judges unanimously voted they were wrong. Again.

The institute will now have to come up with a decision on how they may fund the preventative drug, which would be available to around 14,000 people. But spokespeople are biting back, claiming that the ruling merely said they had the ability (not the obligation) to fund PrEP, reports the BBC.

“We will discuss with local authorities how NHS-funded PrEP medication could be administered by the sexual health teams they commission,” NHS said in a statement. “… We will immediately ask the drug manufacturer to reconsider its currently proposed excessively high pricing, and will also explore options for using generics.”

Currently, the NHS is speaking with local councils on possible future plans. Generic PrEP has already shown to be legitimate, as Plus reported.

If the NHS gives proper funding for PrEP, which is supposed to be anywhere between £10 to £20 million, it would be a huge leap forward towards the dream of zero infections. England alone has nearly 4,000 HIV infections each year. If the world has access to free prevention, not only will we save money, we’ll save lives.

"PrEP works, it saves money,” chief executive of NAT Deborah Gold said of the original ruling, “and most importantly it has the power to prevent HIV acquisition for thousands of people, at the same time as beginning to end the HIV epidemic. This judgment brings that possibility one step closer."

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