56 Dean Street, Europe’s largest sexual health clinic, will begin offering a new private prescription service for the HIV prevention drug, PrEP. The service, called PrEP Shop, launches on Monday, 12 February.
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This comes after 56 Dean Street filled their allotment of spaces for the NHS IMPACT trial. The trial was designed to ‘answer questions about the need for the drug, and how to reach the most at-risk populations.’ Since 56 Dean Street reached their quota, and there’s still high interest in trying PrEP, the clinic (part of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust) is adding this additional Private Care process.
The PrEP Shop provides a generic version of the drug for £55 [$76.06; €62.12] a month for those who missed out on a spot in the IMPACT trial. This is the first time the NHS will prescribe generic PrEP (as opposed to the more costly branded version, Truvada) outside the IMPACT trial.
‘We’ve created PrEP Shop to make it easier for you to buy generic HIV PrEP from someone you trust. By using the buying power of the NHS we aim to keep prices as affordable as we can,’ the PrEP Shop’s website reads.
Despite being a private prescription, those who participate in this new process will have access to the NHS services that are part of the trial at no extra cost. This includes advice and regular testing.
The NHS needs to do better
‘We applaud Dean Street for this decision to do all it can to increase access to PrEP. However the fact that an NHS clinic has needed to create this additional option exposes the inadequacies of the current trial which is evidently not meeting need. Places in the trial are filling far too quickly, especially in cities,’ said Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust (NAT).
‘NHS Trusts should not have to taking these steps to do right by their patients. We call on NHS England, as a matter of urgency, to expand the limits on trial participants so that the need for the drug can be fully monitored (as per the trial’s aims) and, more importantly, so that people can prevent themselves from getting HIV. Further, NHS England must now start working towards routine commissioning of PrEP.’