Councils not responsible for funding Prep, court rules

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the NHS in England does possess the power to fund HIV drug Prep, after it previously claimed that local authorities should be responsible for funding the drug.

The pre-exposure prophylaxis drug - known as Prep prevents the spread of the HIV infection in people which are at high risk of the virus.

It is estimated that around 14,000 people would be eligible for Prep in England.

However, NHS England has maintained that the ruling confirms the organisation has the ability to fund the drug if it decided to but is not obligated to offer it.

A spokesman for the NHS said: “Second, we will discuss with local authorities how NHS-funded Prep medication could be administered by the sexual health teams they commission.

"Third, we will immediately ask the drug manufacturer to reconsider its currently proposed excessively high pricing, and will also explore options for using generics."

Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust (NAT), welcomed the news: “HIV is a critical issue in the UK where over 4,000 people acquire HIV every year.

"Prep works, it saves money, and most importantly it has the power to prevent HIV acquisition for thousands of people, at the same time as beginning to end the HIV epidemic.

"This judgement brings that possibility one step closer."