California approves bill making HIV-prevention drugs available without prescription

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Califonia Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a measure into law allowing the dispense of medication intended to prevent HIV without a prescription.
  • Senate Bill 159 aims to significantly expand access to PrEP and PEP medication in California by allowing pharmacists to furnish the medicine to patients over-the-counter.
  • The bill passage makes California the first state in the country to make the HIV prevention drugs available without a prescription.



Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation into law allowing pharmacists in Califonia to dispense medication intended to prevent HIV without a prescription.

On Monday, the Democrat governor signed off on the bill, also known as Senate Bill 159. The passage of the measure comes after the California state legislature voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure in both of its chambers in September.

Senate Bill 159 aims to significantly expand access to PrEP and PEP medication in California by allowing pharmacists to furnish the medicine to patients over-the-counter. The bill was co-authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener.

According to the CDC, PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis medication, is highly effective for people with “very high risk” of HIV when taken daily.  The drug was found to have reduced a person’s risk of contracting HIV from sex by roughly 99 percent with regular use, the agency said, citing previous studies.

PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis medication, is used to prevent HIV immediately after possible exposure to the virus, according to the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund. PEP’s effectiveness at preventing the HIV virus from spreading depends on how quickly a patient takes the medication.

Newsom’s office said the bill also “prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorizations for patients to obtain PrEP coverage.”

Shortly, the governor’s office released a statement after the bill signing on Monday. Newsom said that all Californians “deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS.”

“I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us closer to ending HIV and AIDS for good,” Newsom said in the statement.

ABC News reported that the legislation makes California the first state in the U.S. to make the HIV prevention drugs available without a prescription

 

Source: The HILL

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