The Andrews Labor Government has today welcomed the long-overdue listing of the life-changing HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis – or PrEP - on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the PBS listing would significantly improve access to the drug by making it more affordable, and help Victoria reach its goal of eliminating new HIV transmissions by 2020.
After years of federal inaction, the Labor Government raised PrEP access at the COAG Health Council, and lobbied the Commonwealth to subsidise the treatment after funding the landmark PrEPX study that helped more than 4,000 Victorians access the ground-breaking HIV prevention tool.
As part of a $1.35 million investment into sexual health, the Labor Government has invested a further $400,000 to extend the PrEPX study in partnership with Alfred Health and the Victorian AIDS Council.
This funding will support the training of healthcare staff in prescribing PrEP, and the transition of current study participants into care with their regular GP now that PrEP is listed on the PBS.
Evidence shows that PrEP is one of the most effective HIV prevention tools available. When taken daily it can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 99 per cent.
The Labor Government has now invested $1.9 million into the PrEPX study since 2016, in addition to extra funding sexual health services and HIV prevention clinics at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, to make sure everyone has access to sexual health screening and treatment, when they need it.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“We have fought long and hard to get PrEP on the PBS after years of federal inaction. This is a great - albeit long-overdue - win that makes this ground-breaking drug more affordable and accessible through local GPs.”
“PrEP is a game changer when it comes to HIV prevention. It is critical to achieving our goal of virtual elimination of new HIV infections by 2020.”
Quote attributable to VAC president Chad Hughes
“After four years of advocacy and collaboration and commitment, we’re pleased to see PrEP listed on the PBS as we believe this breakthrough tool for HIV prevention should be accessible to everyone who needs it.”
Quote attributable to Alfred Health Chief Executive Professor Andrew Way
“Alfred Health led Australia’s first PrEP study in 2014 and since that time, community demand for access to the medication has been strong. Making PrEP available on the PBS is a significant step forward in preventive public health and having unrestricted access to this medication will be life changing for so many people.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020