The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court judgement which ruled NHS England has the legal power to fund PrEP.
NHS England claimed earlier this year that it does not have the power to commission PrEP but a judicial review brought by the National Aids Trust determined that NHS England could commission PrEP. NHS England appealed this ruling on Thursday 15 September 2016.
PrEP is a ‘game-changing’ pill that, when used alongside condoms, testing and treatment, could help bring the beginning of the end for HIV.
The Court of Appeal issued its ruling on their appeal today, in a judgment that confirms that NHS England can legally fund the HIV prevention drug PrEP.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said,
“PrEP is nothing short of a game-changer and, if used alongside condoms, regular testing and treatment, it could be the vital piece of the puzzle to help end the HIV epidemic for good.
“Two courts have now ruled that NHS England does in fact have the legal power to fund PrEP. It is time for NHS England to do the right thing and respect its legal duty to consider funding this highly effective treatment.
“The conduct of NHS England around the funding of this treatment has reminded us that, 30 years on, HIV is still stigmatised in a way that many other health conditions are not.
“Every day the NHS delays access to PrEP, 17 people are diagnosed with HIV – and the lifetime cost to the NHS for each diagnosis of HIV is £360,000. PrEP must be prioritised and made available now to those at risk.
“There is still a long way to go before people at risk have access to this groundbreaking pill that will protect them from HIV – but thanks to today’s decision, we are a step closer to a world without HIV transmissions.”
Cllr Kevin Davis, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said,
“We are pleased that the court has stood by the original judicial review decision that NHS England can be held responsible for funding the HIV prevention drug PrEP, which we have always said.
“Now the appeal has reached its conclusion, we urge NHS England to consider the results of its public consultation on PrEP and make a swift decision on how the drug will be made available.
“HIV is a big issue for London as nearly half of all people living with HIV in the UK live in the capital and 57 per cent of new HIV diagnoses are in London.
“Given these worrying statistics, it is crucial to use all available methods, including PrEP, to protect people at risk of contracting HIV and reduce rates of infection, particularly as the long term impact and cost of living with HIV are significantly greater than prevention.”