NHS England has allegedly spent more than £100,000 in the fight against funding the HIV prevention drug, PrEP.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is the drug that can reduce people’s chances of being infected by HIV if taken daily.
According to Buzzfeed, the shocking cost comes from the high-profile court case, NHS England having to pay its own court fees as well as those of the National Aids Trust (NAT) who battled them.
The legal fight, which took place over the summer of 2016, fought over NHS England’s claim that it could not legally fund the drug. NHS England was accused of homophobia until it lost the legal battle.
The cost so far is reported to be £107, 703.29 but that doesn’t include NAT’s legal fees which come to around £8,000.
This brings the total to an estimated £115,000 which the Terence Higgins Trust, Britain’s largest HIV charity, describes as “disappointing” and “unnecessary.”
Ian Green, the chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“It is disappointing that NHS England took PrEP out of its own decision-making processes – and then spent a substantial amount of money fighting their legal responsibility to consider making PrEP available to people at risk of HIV.”
“This was unnecessary and the money spent on legal costs could instead have been used to prevent people being infected with HIV.”
When NHS England lost the court battle, it was announced that more than 10,000 gay men will be offered the drug as part of a trial.
Green added: “Thankfully, we have entered a more positive chapter for PrEP. Over the next three years, 10,000 people will be able to access PrEP and remain protected from HIV as part of the new NHS England trial.”
“We now want to work collaboratively to make sure all those at risk can access the trial, and to ensure the game-changing potential of PrEP is realised in the UK.”