UK HIV drugs bill may reduce following court ruling – implications for PrEP

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A ruling today from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) suggests that Gilead’s patent for Truvada (the drug used to treat many people living with HIV, and the drug used for PrEP) may be under threat.

The ruling follows a request for an opinion from the UK court, which is hearing a challenge to the patent brought by a number of generic drug manufacturers. The ruling now returns to the UK court for consideration and application. If the UK court agrees with this judgment, Truvada will immediately come off patent, and the NHS will be able to purchase generic alternatives for a fraction of the cost.

NHS England must consider possible implications for PrEP, and begin planning now for the possibility of access to cheaper generic PrEP in the near future.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: “This is a landmark court ruling which may have great importance for cheaper access to a vitally important HIV medication. The legal process is not over yet – the UK courts must consider the ECJ judgment and apply it. But NHS England must be ready to purchase generic PrEP as part of a national PrEP programme roll-out, without any cap on numbers, from April 2019.”

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