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Important updates for Truvada users!

PHARMAC has announced that it will be switching Truvada to a generic alternative over the next few months. This will affect both people living with HIV, who take Truvada as an HIV treatment, as well as people taking Truvada as PrEP.

What does this mean?

It’s nothing to worry about, in fact it’s going to make getting a hold of Truvada in NZ a lot more affordable for those who aren’t eligible for funding.

Basically, the brand name Truvada (which contains the medicines Tenofovir and Emtricitabine) will be swapped for the same medication made by another brand – Teva.

This means a significant price drop, from around $190 for 30 pills down to around $61! Moving to a generic alternative will free up funds to spend on more medications, so this is a good thing for the health system.

For those eligible for funded Truvada, you will still be able to pay $5 per 3-month supply. All that will change is that brand of medicine you’ll fill your prescription with. For those who aren’t eligible, it means making the drug far more affordable and hopefully more accessible as a result - we expect the price to be around $90-$130 per month with pharmacy mark-up.

What’s actually changed?

  • The ingredient quantities are listed in a different order on the bottle – they are still the same medicine
  • The Tenofovir component is made into a compound slightly differently – Gilead’s Truvada used Tenofovir disoproxil fumerate; Teva’s uses Tenofovir disoproxil succinate
  • The pill itself will look a little different – with a slightly different blue and without the ‘701’ or ‘Gilead’ imprinted
  • The brand on the bottle
  • The price - we expect the price for the non-funded drug to be around $90-$130 per month with Pharmacy mark-up. Funded, it will still be $5 per 3-month supply
  • That’s all!

What happens now?

There is still a lot of Truvada stock currently in our health system and Teva’s version will start rolling out as these stores are used up.

If you’re currently taking Truvada, just speak with your doctor about the transition to the new medication and keep an eye out for when your Truvada prescription becomes the Teva alternative.

The criteria for being prescribed PrEP and for receiving funded medication stays the same, so for anyone that was thinking about starting – it’s still the same process, just a new brand of medication.

Apart from that, continue on as usual and remember that this is the same medication – just a bit of a name change – so don’t lose faith in PrEP, it’s still there to keep you safe.

More info – if you want read the scientific/funding details:

Check out the PHARMAC announcements or if you wanted to get really chemical – take a look at the Medsafe product details about Teva’s alternative.

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