PrEP could be available at Australian pharmacies by as early as June this year.

Truvada is the medication that makes up PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a HIV preventative treatment. But it is not available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and can cost up to $800. People wishing to take PrEP can get a prescription from their doctor and import Truvada from overseas at a more affordable price.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is currently deciding whether to approve Truvada in Australia and will announce its decision at the end of May.

“The TGA is currently evaluating a submission made by the Australian sponsor, Gilead Sciences Pty Ltd, to extend the currently approved indications to treat pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV. A decision in relation to this submission is due in May 2016,” a Federal Department of Health spokeswoman told Star Observer.

“Should approval be granted, registration of the newly approved indications will occur shortly after.”

Should the TGA approve Truvada, the next step will be to have it listed on the PBS to make it affordable for more people. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) will consider a submission received from Gilead Sciences for the PBS listing of Truvada at its July 2016 meeting.

PBAC is taking submissions from the public in the lead up to its decision until June 8.

Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) CEO Simon Ruth said he was happy Australia was closer to having PrEP be more accessible.

“We’re glad to hear we’ll be a step closer to PrEP being available in Australia for the people who need it,” he said.

“It’s great that all the east-coast states will have expanded PrEP trials, probably by the end of the year, but it’s no replacement for subsidised access to PrEP nation-wide via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.”

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