In May 2017, I announced Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) would be routinely available for all individuals for whom it was clinically appropriate, as part of a three-year all-Wales study in its use as part of a wider HIV prevention approach.
Now, three years following my decision to make PrEP available to all those who would benefit and as the PrEPARED study draws to an end, I want to provide certainty for the many people in Wales who have been protected from HIV as a result of using PrEP.
My decision in 2017 was taken in light of advice from the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG). At that time, AWMSG’s advice was the use of PrEP could not be recommended for routine use given uncertainties around the levels of cost-effectiveness in their appraisal of the only licensed medicine available for PrEP at the time, the proprietary product Truvada®.
In the three years since the PrEPARED study began, over 1,200 people have been prescribed PrEP and there have been no new diagnoses of HIV amongst people taking PrEP in Wales. We have also benefited from the emergence of generic versions of PrEP that are available to the NHS at a greatly reduced price when compared to the proprietary product. This, together with the interim data collected in the PrEPARED study addressing some of the uncertainty in the initial appraisal, has meant AWMSG have now advised me that in all scenarios, PrEP is likely to be cost-effective, irrespective of any remaining uncertainties.
I am therefore very pleased to be able to confirm I have today (30 June) endorsed AWMSG’s updated recommendation that PrEP continues to be routinely available in Wales, not as part of a study, but as part of routine NHS care for all people for whom it is clinically appropriate.
The provision of PrEP is an important measure in our aim to eliminate HIV and I am proud of what we have achieved to date in Wales. We have made huge progress in developing more modern and effective sexual health services over the last few years.