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NHS ‘spent more than £100,000’ fighting against funding HIV prevention drug

Simon Robb

Pills for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV with PrEP text engraved; Shutterstock ID 372956731
NHS is paying the legal fees after losing its court battle (Picture: Shutterstock)
NHS England allegedly spent more than £100,000 in a fight against funding HIV prevention drug, PrEP.
PrEP is an emergency treatment that can prevent someone from contracting HIV – and it’s almost 100% effective.
But the NHS said it shouldn’t have to provide preventative medication for patients and took the case to court.
Now the health body must pay £107,703.29 to cover its own court fees and those of the National AIDS Trust (NAT), which challenged the health service, according to BuzzFeed.
And that doesn’t include paying the cost of NAT’s legal fees during its appeal, which is yet to be decided.
Pill Bottle with label "PrEP" (stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). PreP treatment is used to prevent HIV infection; Shutterstock ID 508986682
It must pay more than £100,000 (Picture: Shutterstock)
NHS had already added PrEP to its list for new drugs to consider taking on, which was great news for campaigners.
But in March it decided to pull the drug from the standard commissioning process.
This is despite PrEP proving to be more effective in protecting people from contracting the virus.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity at the forefront of fighting HIV and AIDS, told BuzzFeed that the huge costs ‘could instead have been used to prevent people from being infected with HIV.’ approached NHS for comment.

What is PrEP?

PrEP is a drug taken by HIV negative people before sex to reduce the chance of getting the virus.
  • The medication used is a tablet called Truvada (this contains tenofovir and emtricitabine).
  • It’s been tested and proven to be highly effective with no major side effects.
  • But it’s not available on the NHS, and can only be bought privately online.

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