Court of Appeal upholds judgement that NHS England has the legal power to fund PrEP
Thursday 10 November 2016
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a ‘game-changing’ pill that, when used alongside condoms, testing and treatment, could help bring the beginning of the end for HIV.
Terrence Higgins Trust has welcomed the ruling, calling for NHS England to do the right thing and respect its legal duty to consider funding this highly effective treatment.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “PrEP is nothing short of a game-changer and, if used alongside condoms, regular testing and treatment, it could be the vital piece of the puzzle to help end the HIV epidemic for good.
“Two courts have now ruled that NHS England does in fact have the legal power to fund PrEP. It is time for NHS England to do the right thing and respect its legal duty to consider funding this highly effective treatment.
“The conduct of NHS England around the funding of this treatment has reminded us that, 30 years on, HIV is still stigmatised in a way that many other health conditions are not.
“Every day the NHS delays access to PrEP, 17 people are diagnosed with HIV – and the lifetime cost to the NHS for each diagnosis of HIV is £360,000. PrEP must be prioritised and made available now to those at risk.
“There is still a long way to go before people at risk have access to this groundbreaking pill that will protect them from HIV – but thanks to today’s decision, we are a step closer to a world without HIV transmissions.”
Randeep Sidhu, a former biology teacher who now works for a health tech startup, was taking PrEP for a year as part of the PROUD trial so he could protect himself and others.
Randeep said: “As a gay BME man living in London, HIV has always hung over me. Although the majority of people use condoms most of the time, accidents can and do happen. For some, those most at risk of HIV, the consequences of this can be huge.
“Taking PrEP on the PROUD trial gave me the reassurance that I wasn’t going to become HIV positive. It’s both beneficial to me, and to society. I know that I won’t acquire the virus and pass it onto others, and I won’t need lifelong HIV treatment from the NHS.
“PrEP isn’t a lifelong commitment, it’s there for when you are most at risk. For me this was for a year. I am now in a relationship and don’t need PrEP, but in the future I may need to protect myself again.
“Friends of mine have recently been diagnosed with HIV. It shows that it’s here and now, but with PrEP we have a way to protect those at risk. The NHS needs to hurry up and protect these people, that’s why I am very pleased with today’s decision.”