[Ip-health] NHS loses court appeal over paying for PrEP
dzintarsgotham at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 03:52:07 PST 2016
NHS loses court appeal over 'game-changing' HIV drugs
Health service in England fails to overturn high court verdict that it can
pay for PrEP treatments, which can prevent infection
NHS England does have the power to pay for drugs to protect thousand of
people against HIV, the appeal court has ruled, but they may still miss out
if it decides it does not have enough money to prioritise them over
treatments for other conditions.
The court upheld an earlier judgment that it is within the power of NHS
England to fund treatment known as PrEP – pre-exposure prophylaxis – which
can protect the partners of people with HIV from infection. The case was
brought by the National Aids Trust after NHS England said that
responsibility for public health, including HIV prevention, had been passed
to local authorities.
The potential bill for treatment is high, because the drugs are expensive,
estimated at up to £20m a year to treat all those who could benefit. The
local authorities have said they cannot afford to pay.
The ruling opens the way for men whose sexual partners have HIV to be given
the drug, Truvada, by the NHS, but they may still face disappointment. NHS
England will have to put the drugs on the list of specialised treatments it
could potentially fund – but it will then decide which of them it can
afford. Also on the list, the high court earlier heard, are drugs for
children with cystic fibrosis and a form of stem cell transplantation.
But Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England’s director of specialised
commissioning and deputy national medical director, said after the earlier
ruling that they were setting the ball rolling and hoped that the drug
company might bring down its prices.
“This does not imply that PrEP – at what could be a cost of £10m-20m a year
– would actually succeed as a candidate for funding when ranked against
other interventions,” he said in August. “But in those circumstances,
Gilead – the pharmaceutical company marketing the PrEP drug Truvada – will
be asked to submit better prices, which would clearly affect the likelihood
that their drug could be commissioned.”
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