Insurer stops covering HIV prevention drug (BC centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

Letters went out in late April to fewer than 10 people who had been receiving $900 per month in extended health coverage for the once-a-day pill called Truvada, confirmed Joanne Jung, director of pharmacy services for the not-for-profit insurer. The letters said Blue Cross paid for the medication in error and later determined it is not eligible as a pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP under the contracts in question.

The drug, which combines two anti-viral agents, was originally developed to treat HIV infections, but was approved by Health Canada in February as a preventive measure when taken by people who do not have HIV but are exposed to it through sex. Some doctors earlier prescribed it for that purpose on an off-label basis.

The B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS said Wednesday it has no one available to comment on Truvada. The centre released survey results in March saying about one-third of gay men in Vancouver were aware of PrEp as a technique for AIDS prevention. The survey was conducted between Feb. 2012 and Feb. 2014.

Erin Ellis reports

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