Qualified patients will receive free PrEP medication no later than March 30, 2020, the agency announced.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday that CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Rite Aid will begin offering a daily HIV drug free of cost to patients.
HHS stated that by March 30, 2020, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication will be available for free to consumers, including those without prescription drug coverage.
Patients will be able to access PrEP medication at more than 21,000 CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid locations nationwide or through mail order. The three pharmacies will also offer patient counseling and prescription adherence services as part of the program.
The announcement follows up on President Trump's commitment at this year's State of the Union address to "to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years."
"Ready, Set, PrEP is a historic expansion of access to HIV prevention medication and a major step forward in President Trump’s plan to end the HIV epidemic in America," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. "Thanks to Ready, Set, PrEP, thousands of Americans who are at risk for HIV will now be able to protect themselves and their communities."
HHS cited recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that found PrEP medication is "highly effective" at reducing a person's risk of contracting HIV.
Less than two weeks ago, a patient sued Goshen Health on the grounds that the hospital potentially exposed over 1,000 people to HIV or hepatitis.
Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.