09 Sep Increasing Costs of Supplying PReP to Prevent HIV Infection
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Nathan Furukawa, MD, MPH
Medical officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The cost of the PrEP medication is the largest driver of the cost of providing PrEP care. Most patients need insurance or help from a medication assistance program to cover the large costs of the PrEP medication. We wanted to describe how these costs were paid by patients (out-of-pocket payments) and insurers (third-party payments) nationally.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The study found that the cost for a month of the PrEP medication tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine increased from $1350 to $1638 from 2014 to 2018, an average annual increase of 5%. Out-of-pocket costs increased faster from $54 to $94, an average annual increase of 14.9%. In 2018, at least $2 billion was spent paying for the PrEP medication, and this covered 18% of people that had an indication for PrEP.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: PrEP is a key tool in ending the HIV epidemic. However, the increasing cost of the PrEP medication may present challenges for both insurers and patients. Generic PrEP may lower the cost of the medication, but overall health expenditures will likely increase as more people start and remain on PrEP.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: More research is needed to understand how frequently cost is a barrier to PrEP use through insurance coverage denials, prior authorization requirements, or unaffordable out-of-pocket costs. Further research is also needed to identify what policies can reduce PrEP medication costs and whether this results in increased PrEP uptake and persistence.
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