Gilead donates PrEP to 500 men at risk of HIV

Pharma company, Gilead Sciences, will supply an anti-HIV drug to English men who took part in a sexual health survey, writes Nigel Robinson.

The drug, Truvada, can play a substantial role in lowering the chance of HIV transmission during unprotected sex.

The drug is designed to be taken before risky sexual behaviour.

More than 500 gay and bisexual men at high risk of contracting HIV took part in the PROUD survey.

Gilead will provide the drug to these PROUD participants for the next six months.

This follows a controversial appeal by the NHS against a court ruling that it should pay for the drug to be available to those gay and bisexual men who are at high risk of contracting the virus.

In a statement Gilead said:

Gilead Sciences Ltd is pleased to confirm a donation of 2,000 bottles of Truvada (emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil 245 mg; FTC/TDF) to the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at the University College London. The donation is for use as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in combination with safer sex practices, to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 infection, in a population of people at high risk of infection. This follows a request to Gilead from the PROUD study investigators to enable them to continue to supply FTC/TDF to participants following the end of the study in September 2016. Due to the current lack of routine commissioning in England, this one-time donation is intended to allow sufficient treatment for the study participants to continue to access treatment for a further six month while a final funding decision is expected.

Sheena McCormack, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU) at UCL and Chief Investigator of the PROUD trial, says “The PROUD team is delighted that Gilead has made this donation for PROUD participants. PROUD has contributed important evidence that PrEP is effective at reducing HIV. We reported the results in February 2015 and did not expect to have to wait so long for a policy decision from NHS England. We thank Gilead for helping us to support PROUD participants during this time.”

In the meantime, Gilead is committed to working with the HIV Community, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS England and Public Health England on routinely making PrEP available to people at highest risk of HIV infection though routine NHS commissioning.

(Image: Jeffrey Beales Creative Commons)