Encouraging signs in Budget for HIV prevention medication

 

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has welcomed the Government’s Budget-night commitment to make the HIV prevention pill, PrEP, available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if the medicine wins approval at a key meeting in July.

Tonight’s budget papers contain the following comment from the Health Minister, Greg Hunt:

“We will continue to provide affordable access to new medicines that are recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee without fear or favour.”

PrEP is highly effective at preventing transmission of HIV to people who take it as as prescribed. Approximately 10,000 people are currently taking the medication through trials being run by state and territory governments.

Two applications to make PrEP more widely available and affordable will come before the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in July. One application is from Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada, the other from a generic manufacturer.

“It’s highly reassuring to see this Budget commitment to make PrEP available if it wins PBAC listing,” said Darryl O’Donnell, CEO of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.

“PrEP can prevent thousands of HIV transmissions in the years ahead, but only if it’s affordable and available to those who need it.

“PrEP is critical to effectively ending new HIV transmission by 2020. Alongside new HIV testing technology, continued safe sex and an enduring commitment to a community-led HIV response, we can end this epidemic.

“AFAO welcomes Minister Hunt’s commitment and looks forward to a close ongoing partnership.”

 

FOR MEDIA COMMENT, PLEASE CONTACT: Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032