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Questions around who will pay for new HIV-prevention drug

Published måndag 9 maj 2016 kl 09.57
Health authority official: "We will try to negotiate with the drug companies"
(2:00 min)
Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/SvD, TT
Ulla-Karin Hallgren tests a patient for HIV at the Stockholm South General Hospital. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask/SvD, TT

An HIV prevention drug called Prep is expected to become available in Sweden as of this autumn. But there are questions about who should pay for it.

Sweden does not subsidise prophylactics, which means patients would have to pay for the SEK 6,000-per-month treatment out of their own pockets.

Prep is taken as a tablet on a daily basis, and according to studies, it drastically reduces the risk of being infected with HIV. The drug has already been available in other parts of the world for several years, and as part of a new EU approval expected this autumn the drug will likely become available in Sweden.

But not subsidising the drug will mean difficulties reaching the target group, according to Teymur Noori at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“If you want large-scale implementation, the cost needs to come down. Either it's financed through the healthcare system or preferably the costs need to come down. They're unreasonable at the moment,” said Noori speaking with Swedish Radio News.

Dag Larsson, Chair of the Healthcare Delegation at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, is positive to Prep being introduced on the Swedish market.

“I’m very glad that there are developments when it comes to HIV drugs. In the long run I think it’s very good for society and for the individuals who are affected by this disease,” Larsson told Radio Sweden.

Larsson said the Healthcare Delegation will look at what can be done to make the drug more affordable to users, discussing the issue on a national level as well as with the Swedish regions in charge of healthcare.

Larsson stressed that Prep should serve as a complement to condoms – not as a replacement.

“Even if you take Prep, you must use a condom or other protective measures. Otherwise, you’re playing a very dangerous game with your own life,” he said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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