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National AIDS Trust wins PrEP funding appeal

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the NAT (National AIDS Trust) in a judgment that confirms that NHS England can legally fund the HIV prevention drug PrEP. This decision means that NHS England is obliged to give due consideration to commissioning PrEP.

This outcome means that NHS England will need to reveal its decision on whether PrEP will be recommended for funding.  Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, said: “We are delighted to have been vindicated by the Court a second time. HIV is a critical issue in the UK where over 4,000 people acquire HIV every year. PrEP works, it saves money, and most importantly it has the power to prevent HIV acquisition for thousands of people, at the same time as beginning to end the HIV epidemic. This judgment brings that possibility one step closer. We look forward to what we hope will be a balanced and evidence-based decision on PrEP by NHS England, as well the opportunity to work alongside NHS England collaboratively for the benefit of people living with and at risk of HIV.”

DPG’s client, NAT, has been defending their position, supported by the Local Government Association and confirmed by the initial Court decision, that there is no legal impediment to NHS England funding the drug PrEP, and that it should never have been dropped from the new treatments being considered for NHS commissioning.  NHS England had argued that it could not legally fund it as it is a public health intervention.

NAT were represented by Adam Hundt and Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors.  DPG’s Louise Whitfield commented: “I am very pleased that my clients have overcome NHS England’s arguments about why they could not fund this vital treatment.  The Court of Appeal commented specifically that NHS England should have an internal mechanism to resolve such disputes, and we very much hope this is taken on board.”

The legal team for NAT also included Zoe Levanthal of Landmark Chambers, Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers, and Javan Herberg QC of Blackstone Chambers.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

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