By Press Association
2nd August 2016
NHS has legal power to fund pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission, judge says
A leading Aids charity has won a high court battle over whether a preventative treatment for HIV that charities say is a “game-changer” can legally be funded by the NHS.
NHS England said it had received advice that it does not have the legal power to fund pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a “highly effective” anti-retroviral treatment used to stop HIV from becoming established in the event of transmission.
But Mr Justice Green, sitting in London, ruled that NHS England “has erred in deciding that it has no power or duty to commission the preventative drugs in issue”.
The ruling was a victory for the National Aids Trust (NAT), which brought the case to court.
Deborah Gold, the NAT chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news. It is vindication for the many people who were let down when NHS England absolved itself of responsibility for PrEP. The judgment has confirmed our view that it is perfectly lawful for NHS England to commission PrEP. Now NHS England must do just that.
Over 4,000 people are getting HIV every year in the UK – we desperately need further prevention options to add to condom use. PrEP works. It saves money and it will make an enormous difference to the lives of men and women across the country who are at risk of acquiring HIV. The delay to commissioning PrEP is both unethical and expensive.”