The NHS has just announced it has pulled the plug on its decision-making process on whether to offer PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis – a HIV prevention drug, proven to be effective in stopping HIV transmission in almost every case if taken properly) on the NHS. This is a real shock. NHS England’s press release is here.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: “NAT shares the anger and distress felt by many thousands of people across the country at NHS England’s decision to abandon its work to provide PrEP, near the very end of the process. In a shocking U-turn, NHS England has pulled the plug on over 18 months of hard work which demonstrated the need, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of PrEP.
Instead of a long-term policy to give PrEP to all who need it, there will be £2 million over two years for 500 gay men ‘most at risk’. The decision is not informed by any due process; the amount of money is arbitrary; the claim that more ‘testing’ of PrEP is needed is disingenuous. 500 does not remotely cover the number of gay men at high risk of HIV nor meet the needs of heterosexuals at risk. There is no clarity within the Department of Health, the NHS or Public Health England as to who long-term is responsible to commission and fund PrEP.
This is simple maladministration with serious consequences. Over 5,000 gay men will get HIV over the next two years – very many of whom would not have done so if PrEP had been delivered as proposed.
The US, Canada, France, Israel, Kenya have all made PrEP available. Faced with one of the most exciting prevention options to emerge since the HIV epidemic began, and which offers the prospect of real success in combatting this virus, the NHS has failed miserably to deliver.
We call on Ministers to intervene and reverse this deplorable decision – securing a process to provide PrEP on the basis of evidence and need.”
For more details, see here.