We often field queries about PrEP and its price. Many people who’d benefit from taking PrEP choose not to investigate it as an option because they think that it is too expensive. The good news is that PrEP is not as pricey as many people think.
In order for us to answer the question “how much does PrEP cost?” we need to know a little bit more about how you intend to access the medication. Below we’ve listed three different access options specific to New South Wales and detailed their associated costs.
1. Access to PrEP via the EPIC-NSW study
If you are someone who is at high risk of acquiring HIV, you might be eligible for the EPIC-NSW study. If you are enrolled in the EPIC-NSW study you get PrEP for free for up to 24 months. EPIC-NSW is enrolling in both urban and regional parts of NSW and it’s a great PrEP access option that costs $0. To enrol in EPIC-NSW you have to be over 18, HIV negative, at high risk of acquiring HIV, living in New South Wales or visiting New South Wales very frequently. Note that you do not need to be eligible for Medicare to access EPIC-NSW.
2. Personal Importation
Not everyone will be eligible for EPIC-NSW or similar studies. If this is the case with you, then importing generic PrEP from overseas is an affordable option for most people. This can cost between $50 and $150 a month, depending on who you choose to import through. Though this is an expense, it is lower than what a lot of people imagine. If you are going to import PrEP from overseas, you should always do this after a consultation with your doctor. PrEPAccessNow is a website that has some great information this option.
3. Buying brand name PrEP
Buying brand name PrEP — known as Truvada — with a prescription from your doctor is another option. However, without any current subsidy you would be looking at a cost of approximately $1000 a month. Though the Therapeutic Goods Administration this year approved the use of Truvada as PrEP, TGA approval has no impact on the price of the drug. Truvada is currently being reviewed for subsidy under the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). If Truvada is listed for subsidy it is likely that it will be available for $38.30 per month –the standard co-payment associated with medications listed on the PBS.
Don’t be put off PrEP because of the myths around how much it costs. PrEP does not always cost $1000 per month; luckily there are more affordable options!
If you’d like to read more about importing PrEP, you can download ACON’s PrEP Access Options paper here! Remember, you will need a script to import PrEP and the doctor who writes you that script should always test you for HIV, as well as test your kidney and liver functions before giving you a prescription.