Pre-exposure prophylaxis should be available from community pharmacies

Ahead of World AIDS Day, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling on the Government to widen access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by making it available through community pharmacies across Great Britain.

PrEP is available free through sexual health clinics and offers almost 100% protection from HIV when taken as recommended prior to sex or injecting drugs. The medication used for PrEP is a tablet which contains tenofovir and emtricitabine, drugs commonly used to treat HIV.

Urging the Government to engage with the profession to improve public health, RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said:

“There is a clear opportunity to drive down rates of HIV infection by expanding provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to community pharmacies and GP practices as part of the Government’s HIV Action Plan.

“Community pharmacies are highly trusted and conveniently located, providing a much wider reach than specialist services can on their own. Pharmacies see those who may be reluctant or unable to attend other health services, play a vital role in reducing harm, and provide rapid access to health and care.

“This highly effective medicine needs to be made as easily accessible as possible to those who need it.

“We urge the Government to make PrEP available through community pharmacies as soon as possible.”