Medicine

Pharmac to widen access to HIV drug

Pharmac to widen access to HIV drug

The Florida-based supermarket chain, under fire for refusing to cover drugs used in the HIV prevention strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, sent out a series of tweets today saying the company has made a decision to add the coverage. "We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families", tweeted Publix.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that can reduce users' risk of contacting the HIV virus by more than 90 percent. We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible.

From March, Pharmac will fund the drug Truvada - which is already available to those with HIV - for the prevention of the retrovirus as well, making New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to do so.




"Condoms continue to be the primary and recommended method of preventing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections", Fitt said.

The news sparked an outrage, and now the supermarket chain has announced it will reverse its decision and will now expand to cover PrEP in its employee health care plan "as quickly as possible", said a representative for Publix in a series of tweets to Logo. North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida - three states where Publix operates - ranked in the top ten states with the highest number of HIV diagnoses as of 2016. The company is one of the few Fortune 500 companies that did not participate in the Human Rights Campaign's 2018 Corporate Equality Index, which is used as a benchmarking tool for LGBTQ workplace equality. On Monday, Publix officials met with Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) and confirmed to him that they were denying PrEP coverage, but wouldn't clarify why.

The Advocate has sought comment from Publix but has received no response so far.


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