No state funding for Belgium’s anti-AIDS prevention treatment
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    No state funding for Belgium’s anti-AIDS prevention treatment

    © Belga
    De Block's department says great strides are being made in HIV contamination prevention medicine.
    © Belga

    Anti-AIDS prevention treatment is not yet reimbursed in Belgium, but the “treatment verification process is ongoing.” This has been indicated to the Belga press agency by the Office of the Minister for Health, Maggie De Block (of the Open VLD).

    Several studies have shown that pre-exposure prophylaxis is effective in the fight against contamination with the virus, however the price of such medicines remains high.

    The pill with the brand name Truvada – a combination of two anti-retrovirals – makes it possible to fight against HIV contamination.

    However, as indicated, its cost is high: one box costs 560 euros, or 17 euros per tablet.

    Professor De Wit, Head of the Infectious Diseases Service at UHC St-Pierre in Brussels says, “If a person decides to have unprotected sex, they must take several Truvada pills to limit the contamination risks. If this is occurring regularly, the individual should take one tablet a day.”

    He says, “Over time, this could very quickly become expensive.”

    This prevention treatment has already been proven to be effective.

    A study produced in 2012 by Ipergay, a programme run by the French research agency for AIDS and viral hepatitis, proved that the tablet would reduce the risk of HIV contamination.

    Since 2013, the cost of the medicine has been reimbursed in France through the social security system. In Belgium, Truvada has already been used in post-exposure prophylaxis “complementing other medicines,” but not yet as part of prevention treatments.

    According to Professor De Wit, the medicine will appear in generic form from the summer 2017.

    This will reduce its price by some 60%. “It is a good start, but its reimbursement will allow for further reduction in the number of infections.”

    De Block’s Office, when questioned upon the subject, indicated that “the reimbursement-related analysis for the medicine is currently under way. The Commission for the Reimbursement of Medicines (CRM) will thus determine whether or not, the medicine can be reimbursed.”

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times