Scotland first in UK to approve HIV drug

Written by Tom Freeman on 11 April 2017 in News

Prep approved for use in Scotland by the SMC, prompting trial in England

Scotland has become the first part of the UK to approve a drug which reduces the chances of HIV infection.

The daily pill, known as Prep, has been approved for use in the Scottish NHS by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

Taken daily Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or Prep, reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 per cent. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70 per cent.


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The decision means it can be routinely offered to patients at risk of HIV under its brand name Truvada.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said the drug “when used together with safer sex practices may help to reduce the spread of HIV, which is an ongoing priority for the Scottish Government".

The move was welcomed by a group of charities including HIV Scotland, Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, Waverley Care, and NAT (National AIDS Trust), which have campaigned for the drug’s approval.

In a statement, they said: "We applaud the SMC for taking this bold step to tackling HIV in Scotland.

"Prep provides opportunities to reinvigorate how people at higher risk of HIV exposure engage with testing and prevention opportunities, and it is a vital opportunity to make a real reduction in the number of new HIV transmissions.

"All NHS Boards in Scotland need to now follow the SMC's advice and ensure they're making Prep available to those who need it, so that no-one at risk is left behind."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale MSP, who co-chairs the Cross Party Group on Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses, said: “It is a historic decision that could lead to a transformational reduction in the number of new HIV transmissions. I applaud all the campaigners who have fought so hard for this for years.

“It is now vital that the SNP government ensures all NHS boards have the funds required so that PrEP can be made available to those who need it."

Following the Scottish announcement, Public Health England and NHS England have confirmed they will move ahead with a trial of the drug.

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