MP Mike Freer calls on David Cameron to help fight NHS refusal to fund AIDS drug
PUBLISHED: 17:52 11 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:52 11 May 2016
Finchley & Golders Green MP, Mike Freer took his chance at Prime Minister's Questions today to tell David Cameron it was "unacceptable" that the NHS is refusing to fund a drug which helps reduce the risk of contracting AIDS.
Mr Freer, a Conservative who is gay and campaigns for equal rights, told the Prime Minister: “HIV infection rates in the UK are on the rise. My Right Honourable Friend will be aware that NHS England have refused to fund Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis treatment.”(PrEP)
He asked: “Will my Right Honourable Friend agree to meet with me, and leading AIDS charities, so that we can review this unacceptable decision?”
Mr Cameron replied: “My understanding is NHS England are considering their commissioning responsibility.
“I want them to reach a decision on this quickly – in this month if possible, because there’s no doubt, as he says, there is a rising rate of infection that these treatments can help and make a difference.”
The Prime Minister continued: “We are planning trial sites - they’re already underway, we’re investing £2 million to support these over the next two years -but he is right to raise this and I’ll make sure he gets the meetings he needs to make progress with it.”
Despite research from separate studies in the UK and France showing PrEP reduced infection rates in gay men by 86 per cent, NHS England shelved their planned consultation on the use of PrEP in March 2016, arguing that it was not their responsibility to commission the drug,
Mr Freer chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS, which campaigns on issues relating to the disease, working with charities such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and STOPAIDS as well as with the Department of Health.