HIV drug PrEP price to be slashed, increasing chances of eliminating virus in Australia
The cost of HIV-prevention drug PrEP will be slashed, with the final hurdle now cleared for adding it to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Hailed as a “game changer” for gay men, the preventative medicine is up to 99 per cent effective in stopping the spread of HIV, if taken daily.
The $180 million federal subsidy for the drug, “puts Australia in reach of being one of the first countries in the world to end the transmission of HIV”, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
In February, pre-exposure prophylaxis was recommended for listing on the PBS by a panel of experts and Mr Hunt will today announce the cost of the medicine will drop significantly from April 1.
“PrEP is a medical innovation that will save Australian lives and the decision to list it is one of the most significant advancements in HIV transmission Australia has ever seen,” Mr Hunt said.
“32,000 patients each year will pay a maximum of only $39.50 per script … without subsidy, patients would pay $2,496 per year for this medicine.
“Access to PrEP will not only benefit gay and bisexual men but will also drive down rates of HIV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrant communities and other population groups which have seen increased transmission rates over recent years.”
The drug is being trialled in several states, but advocates have been lobbying for it to be more accessible and affordable.