Aberdeen campaigner welcomes decision to make anti-HIV drug available on NHS

"By delivering this treatment on the NHS to those most at risk - and combining it with other vital tools in our HIV prevention armoury, such as condom use, regular testing, and early diagnosis and treatment - this could mark the beginning of the end for HIV transmission in Scotland".

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) welcomed the decision to approve PrEP, which can be taken daily or before sex to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald said the drug "when used together with safer sex practices may help to reduce the spread of HIV, which is an ongoing priority for the Scottish Government".

Campaigners are hopeful that it will eventually be available through the NHS England to anyone who feels they are at risk of contracting HIV, but this is not certain.

'This decision now calls into question as to why NHS England cannot make PrEP available to all that need it and still insist on a three year trial.

A breast cancer drug set to be withdrawn in England was approved yesterday for routine use in Scotland.

We are now calling on NHS England to follow the footsteps of Scotland and provide PrEP to those who are at a higher risk.

The bodies explained: "Considerable progress has been made in preparing for the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial [anounced last year]".

NHS Wales makes its decision on PrEP later this month, but McKay said there was an "urgent need" for answers in England on when its trial would begin and who would have access to it.

The SMC's decision comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in England published final draft guidance late a year ago saying Kadcyla is not set at an affordable price.

"It's frustrating though that Scotland is on the verge of supplying PrEP while in England we are still finalising details of a trial".

In addition, the SMC backed daclizumab (Zinbryta) to treat severe or relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

"At the moment a couple of ladies every week in Scotland go on to develop metastatic HER2-positive disease, so they stand to benefit from this drug".

The drug may be used together with aspirin to prevent problems caused by blood clots and hardening of the arteries, and is now approved for up to one year after a heart attack.

"We were not able to accept ticagrelor for use in this setting as there were concerns about the relative safety of the clinical benefits it might offer".

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: "One of my first questions as an MSP was about whether PrEP will be adopted".

Campaigners who had called for the drug to be made available hailed the SMC for "taking this bold step", saying the medicine is a "vital opportunity" to reduce the number of new HIV cases.

She said: "I'm delighted and excited, it's a fantastic decision today and am really looking forward to sharing it with my daughter and family".

  • Joanne Flowers