NHS England explained and confirmed its decision not to fund PrEP following a meeting of its Specialised Services Commissioning Committee on 31 May 2016.
In response, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said:
“We are disappointed that the urgent representations made by London Councils and our health partners about the importance of PrEP have been ignored. In London rates of HIV transmission remain high and it is worrying to see NHS England turn its back on a drug that focuses on prevention to address one of the capital’s most significant public health concerns.
“There has already been extensive testing of PrEP which shows that 86 per cent of those at risk who take the drug are protected from contracting HIV. More testing is not needed and only funding a limited number of test sites with £1 million per year over two years will be nowhere near enough to treat the number of people who need PrEP. The question of what happens to those 500 people given the drug after the two year period is over remains a worrying concern.
“NHS England is playing a waiting game until the PrEP drug comes off patent in 2018 and London Councils and our health partners do not believe it is acceptable to let any more Londoners contract HIV while we wait.”
Notes to editors:
A study on the effectiveness of PrEP called the PROUD study was published in the Lancet in January 2016, based on a randomised trial in 13 sexual health clinics in England. It showed that in 86 per cent of cases PrEP can prevent HIV. For more information, visit the Lancet's website.