HIV prevention in Canada took a significant step forward today when pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Canada announced it is seeking approval for the use of Truvada as Pre Exposure Prophylaxis in Canada. The onus now sits with Health Canada and policy makers to ensure universal access and coverage of PrEP.
Truvada used as PrEP is extremely effective at preventing new HIV infections when used as prescribed. PrEP has been at the forefront of HIV prevention for years, especially since it was approved in 2012 by the CDC and endorsed by the WHO.
In an email to various stakeholders across the country today, a Gilead representative confirmed that they had “filed a Supplemental New Drug Submission with Health Canada for Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis.” It continued, advising “the proposed PrEP indication still requires Health Canada review.” They also have updated their policy position statement on PrEP to include the new Canadian submission.
Advocates across Canada have been increasingly vocal, urging Gilead to initiate the approval process. This included a position paper on the matter in 2012 by ACT, and an awareness campaign in late 2014 called ‘Is PrEP Right for Me?’. For Pride 2015, ACT launched a campaign called HIVnow that educated people on the benefits of PrEP, while urging them to speak up for access and coverage of PrEP in Canada.
HIM also penned an open letter to Gilead last Spring (2015) which brought welcome attention on the issue and was widely supported by the HIV community. The accompanying petition benefitted greatly from the time and energy of YouthCO, CANAC Nurses, RÉZO and AIDS Vancouver.
We at ACT applaud the decision to seek approval and look forward to working with all levels government to ensure that PrEP is quickly made available to those that seek it and those who would benefit from its use.
For more information or comment please contact:
Communications Coordinator, ACT
416-340-8484 ext. 225