Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
Last week, I announced my decision to make Truvada® available and to undertake a 3-year, all-Wales study on its use as part of a wider HIV prevention service. The study will commence no later than July 2017. During the 3-year study Truvada® will be available across Wales in each instance where it is clinically appropriate. I will provide further detail before the study begins.
I would like to thank the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) for their careful consideration of Truvada® for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis to reduce the risk of sexually-acquired HIV amongst adults at high risk. AWMSG are a recognised and accredited independent expert group. I must acknowledge their advice that there are uncertainties around the levels of cost-effectiveness which led them not to recommend it for routine use within the NHS in Wales at this time.
The appraisal process includes a 10-day review period to allow a company to ask AWMSG to re-consider their decision. I am taking the unprecedented step of making this announcement before the AWMSG review period ends because I recognise there is significant clinical support to make Truvada® available. Equally importantly, there is clear evidence supported by the World Health Organisation that Truvada® reduces the rates of HIV infection when taken correctly and supported by wider, preventative sexual health services. I am also conscious that this reduction in infection rates works to protect wider society by reducing overall HIV transmission.
On ethical grounds I believe it is important to make Truvada® available where clinically appropriate. We must of course ensure our resources are targeted to best effect. The study should help to address the areas of uncertainty identified by AWMSG concerning the incidence rates of HIV infection in Wales, the issues around individuals adhering to the medication regime and the impact of this on the reduction of infection rates.