California to Allow Pharmacies to Give out HIV Preventive Drugs Without Prescriptions

Gavin Newsom the governor of California signed a law that allows pharmacists to provide HIV prevention drugs such as Truvada to patients without a prescription. It allows pharmacists to hand out the anti HIV medications for both pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP ) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

Truvada

Truvada

This is in line with the 2015 Californian law, which allows women to enter any pharmacy and receive a prescription contraceptive if they ever needed one.

PrEP can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections by approximately 99% if taken daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PEP however is designed for emergencies and, according to the CDC, should be initiated within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV.

The legislation also prohibits insurers from requiring patients to obtain prior approval for the use of their drug procurement services.

Before this law people needed to get a preapproval from their insurance companies which usually took more than 72 hours  making the medications not as useful in the cases of possible exposure to HIV

According to Courtney Mulhern-Pearson at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation recent advances in HIV prevention and treatment can save lives and all Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have changed the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The law obliges pharmacists to give instructions on the use and possible side effects of these anti HIV drugs.

All potential patients must be tested or must show that they have had a negative HIV test within the last seven days. In the case that the test comes back positive, the pharmacist or the test giver will refer them to a primary health care provider and provide them with a list of nearby health care providers and clinics.

The California Medical Association at first opposed the law, but then withdrew its objection after the law limited the PreP prescription to 60 days, after which people should go to a primary care physician.

Likewise, California state law already permits pharmacists to dispense without a prescription: Naloxone (a drug to reverse opioid overdoses), smoking cessation and foreign travel drugs.

The law was passed almost unanimously in the California senate and state assembly.

References

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