The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has recommended the listing of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) earlier today.
PrEP is an antiretroviral treatment taken by HIV negative people at high risk of acquiring HIV to prevent infection. Studies have shown that PrEP is extremely effective, and recent demonstration projects in Australia, such as the incredibly successful the Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW (EPIC-NSW), have continued to show strong results.
PrEP was approved by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) in 2016, however without federal government subsidy PrEP has remained too expensive for most people. The recommendation to have PrEP listed has been warmly welcomed.
“This is an incredibly important outcome and we welcome the PBAC decision. It’s a significant step towards providing a powerful tool to those at risk of acquiring HIV to take control of their health,” said ACON President Dr Justin Koonin.
Will PrEP subsidisation further reduce HIV transmissions?
While NSW has been leading the charge – both nationally and internationally – with the success of EPIC-NSW, the listing of PrEP on the PBS will go a very long way in helping us achieve our goal of virtually ending HIV transmissions by 2020.
“With subsidisation, the combined effect of PrEP use along with our communities’ increasing HIV testing rates and stronger uptake of treatment among people living with HIV, we may be able to deliver the biggest reduction in HIV transmission rates in NSW for more than three decades. Listing of PrEP on the PBS will go a very long way in helping us achieve our goal of virtually ending HIV transmissions by 2020.”
How soon until PrEP is listed?
Although a recommendation by PBAC does not lead to an automatic listing on the PBS, the Australian Government has already committed to honouring PBAC’s recommendation in a timely manner. This may take a sometime, so if you’re currently accessing PrEP through a study like EPIC – NSW, you should continue to take your study drug as prescribed.