A California bill seeks to make HIV
prevention drug PrEP available over the counter.
According to Capital Public Radio, the
bill would apply to PrEP, a drug regimen taken prior to HIV exposure,
and PEP, which is taken within 72 hours of a potential exposure,
lower the risk of contracting HIV. PEP has been called the “morning
The bill is sponsored by the San
Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, the group's
director of policy and strategy, said that the bill was needed
because access to the drugs remains difficult.
“[The pharmacy] is a more accessible
access point for a lot of people [than a doctor's office],” she
told the outlet. “It wouldn’t require an appointment, and
they’re in every community. So for all pharmacies that are willing
to participate in this, we potentially have a broader reach of access
points than we have currently.”
Gabe Zichermann of Los Angeles said
that getting a prescription from his doctor and authorization from
his insurance company was “like pulling teeth.”
“I'm glad the legislators in
California are looking to make it easier, because it's just going to
save a lot of lives,” he said.
The bill would also prohibit insurance
companies from requiring prior authorization for PrEP and PEP.