Health department won’t subsidise HIV prevention drug

Truvada

Truvada is a once-daily pill that costs about $750 a month and is aimed at preventing HIV transmission. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An HIV prevention drug will not be taxpayer-subsidised after it failed to receive recommendation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

An application to list Truvada – a once-daily pill that costs about $750 a month and is aimed at preventing HIV transmission – was rejected on Friday by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

The Department Of Health said the price requested by the maker, Gilead Sciences, was far too high and it was not feasible to limit the drug to a smaller, high-risk subset of the whole “at risk” population.

“The PBAC would welcome another submission … addressing its concerns about cost effectiveness and the appropriate eligible population,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“People are needlessly getting HIV while we wait for access to this prevention pill,” its chief executive, Darryl O’Donnell, said.