The Federal government needs to stop delaying and make antiretroviral drugs accessible, it says
Victoria’s Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, this week launched a new pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) study called PrEPX, where 2600 people will receive the treatment through a partnership between the state government, Alfred Health, Victorian AIDS Council, Burnet Institute and the University of New South Wales.
The Victorian government took the opportunity to call on the Federal government to review its ruling against PBS listing of the TGA-approved PrEP, Truvada.
“A decision not to list Truvada on the PBS is extremely disappointing,” says Hennessy.
“We know PrEP is invaluable when it comes to stopping the spread of HIV – it has the power to prevent infections and save lives.
“The Federal Liberal Government needs to stop delaying and make this drug more affordable and accessible for people at risk of HIV,” she says.
According to the minister, 1,300 Victorians have already signed up to the PrEPX study, which is designed to reduce new HIV infections in the state by up to 30% over the next few years.
Alfred Health’s lead researcher Dr Edwina Wright points out that PrEPX is the first study in the world to use only generic PrEP.
“This approach is highly novel and is breaking new ground. The fact we are the first study in the world to use only generic PrEP has generated interest from a number of leading international public health institutions,” says Dr Wright.
Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) CEO Simon Ruth says the study is crucial to show why the drug needs to be subsidised.
“The recent news that PrEP won’t be recommended for listing on the PBS underscores how important PrEPX is for Victorians at risk,” says Ruth.
“VAC has been working for years no to make sure gay men and others at risk of HIV understand what PrEP is, how it works and why it’s important.”
Image by Jeffrey Beall – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19631183