HIV: Government ‘exploring’ making PrEP available in pharmacies
A “roadmap” considering expanding the provision of HIV medication pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to “a variety of settings” will be available by the end of the year, pharmacy minister Neil O’Brien has said.
The government plans to “explore opportunities” for making PReP “available in a variety of settings…including online, general practitioner services and pharmacies”, Mr O’Brien revealed last month (October 26).
Responding to a parliamentary question about plans to expand the service, he said that the drug -which is taken to prevent HIV - is “currently only prescribed at specialist sexual health services”.
But he added that a “PrEP roadmap”, which “considers actions needed to improve HIV PrEP access pathways” in other settings, “is expected to be made available…by the end of the year”.
He said that the roadmap will “guide [government] efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use” of PrEP to “meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV”.
Health and social care committee (HSCC) chair Steve Brine also called on the minister to let community pharmacies provide HIV prevention medication PrEP during a Westminster Hall debate in September.
And in 2021, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) also called on the government to widen access to PrEP by making it available in community pharmacies “as soon as possible”.
At the time, it urged the government to engage with community pharmacy to allow the “highly effective medicine” to be “made as easily accessible as possible to those who need it”.
Earlier that year, NHS England (NHSE) revealed that it had begun “initial discussions” about access to PrEP in community settings, “specifically via community pharmacy”.