NAT urges NHS England to respect the court’s ruling and give PrEP a fair hearing
NAT (National AIDS Trust) has urged NHS England not to appeal the historic ruling by the High Court yesterday that said NHS England did have the power to commission the HIV prevention drug PrEP.
NHS England has, in response to the judgment, both decided to appeal and emphasised the delay in a decision on a number of other possible new healthcare drugs and interventions because of the PrEP court case. However, these delays are the responsibility of NHS England. PrEP was due to be considered alongside other conditions for funding in 2016/17 before being suddenly – and the court now says unlawfully – removed from the process.
By removing PrEP from the process unlawfully, insisting in response to NAT’s challenge that it go through the courts, and now by appealing this court decision, NHS England is creating further delays affecting many other conditions also.
NAT and other PrEP supporters are simply arguing for a fair and equal hearing for the case for PrEP alongside other possible funding proposals.
In their press statements, NHS England has also said that were they to fund PrEP they would not be able to fund other interventions, for example for children with cystic fibrosis.
No assessment has as yet been made of the cost benefit of PrEP and what level of prioritisation it will be afforded. Every policy funded involves money being spent on that policy and not on a policy which in the end is not funded. To single just PrEP out as a policy which would be funded at the expense of others is invidious, prejudices NHS England’s position in relation to PrEP and raises serious questions as to the integrity and impartiality of NHS England’s approach.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, said, ‘We call on NHS England to abandon its appeal, to allow the commissioning process to take its course and to stop pre-empting publicly the discussions and decisions which should properly take place in the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group.’
Notes to the editor:
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.lifewithHIV.org – a resource for HIV positive people
www.HIVaware.org.uk – what everyone should know about HIV