By Bob Katzen

The Senate approved and sent to the House a bill that would allow pharmacists to prescribe, dispense and administer a short-term supply (60-days once in a two-year period) of HIV prevention drugs, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis(PrEP), to a patient without a prescription. The bill requires pharmacists to provide counseling regarding the use of PrEP and to connect patients without a primary care provider with a health care provider for ongoing care and to obtain a prescription for PrEP.

“PrEP is a game changer in HIV prevention that reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 99 percent,” said Sen. Julian Cyr (D- Truro). “While there has been great progress in managing HIV since the virus was first identified, tens of thousands of people continue to contract HIV each year, and gay and bisexual men, especially gay and bisexual men of color, are disproportionately impacted. Increasing access to this vital treatment by enabling pharmacists to prescribe PrEP and improving access to care by requiring pharmacists to link customers to medical care will bolster the Commonwealth’s overall public health and address health care inequities.”

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