The Court of Appeal rules in favour of the NAT (National AIDS Trust) in a judgment that confirms an earlier high court judgment that NHS England can legally fund the HIV prevention drug PrEP.
This decision means that NHS England is obliged to give due consideration to commissioning PrEP.
Supporting the initial High Court judgment, this outcome means that NHS England will need to reveal its decision on whether PrEP will be recommended for funding.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, said: “We are delighted to have been vindicated by the Court a second time. 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.
“We look forward to what we hope will be a balanced and evidence-based decision on PrEP by NHS England, as well the opportunity to work alongside NHS England collaboratively for the benefit of people living with and at risk of HIV.”
NAT has been defending their position, supported by the Local Government Association and confirmed by the initial Court decision, that there is no legal impediment to NHS England funding the drug PrEP, and that it should never have been dropped from the new treatments being considered for NHS commissioning.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) involves HIV negative people taking an antiretroviral drug to avoid getting HIV. It is a cost effective drug and cheaper than treating people for life with expensive HIV drugs after become infected with HIV.
NHS England had argued that it cannot legally fund it as it is a public health intervention.
Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove & Portslade, said: “Today’s court judgement is welcome news as the Government needs to stop ducking responsibility for commissioning this proven measure of preventing HIV at a time when infection rates are rising. There is still some way to go as it now needs to be prioritised for funding so I will be working with the Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust and other health charities to lobby NHS England to do so without delay.”
Peter has also signed a letter to NHS England asking them to commission PreEP, now it has been ruled it is their responsibility.
Ivor Caplin, former Labour MP for Hove & Portslade and Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence, said: “This is an important step forward for PrEP and LGBT community. Am also pleased that Court criticised NHS on waste of funds on court appeal process which I pointed out after the first case.
“Now is time for NHS to fully fund and make PrEP available so that this game changing moment in the fight against HIV can become a reality.
“We know how important this additional protection will be across the City alongside regular testing and condoms. This really is an important moment.”