HIV Prevention Pill Cost May Be Too High

(Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Amidst the presentations at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., a new drug called Truvada was a conversation lightning rod. The pill, which has been proven to decrease the transmission of the HIV virus in people at high risk for the disease, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration weeks before the confab to mixed reactions. Some physicians and Center for Disease Control experts were excited about a future with the drug as part of their prevention toolbox, while others pointed out that patients forced to take a daily pill invites error, especially when the price is nearly $40 per dose. Now, according to Reuters, it seems the reality of the pill’s pricing may indeed keep those in need away from a drug that could help them.

A number of factors will limit the drug's use for preventing HIV, including the fact that in the United States many people most at risk of infection, as well as their sexual partners, do not have consistent access to healthcare. Even for those with coverage, insurance reimbursement for a $14,000-a-year drug is expected to be tricky.

In addition, therapy with the drug would require otherwise healthy young people to take a pill each day, plus show up for HIV testing every three months.

"There are a number of rather significant implementation challenges," said Dr. Stephen Morin, director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California at San Francisco. "Part of it has to do with the requirement to take a pill a day, which could be addressed by a more long-term administration of the drug."


Read more at Reuters.

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