Introducing PrEP in the Netherlands would be cost effective. With a significant price reduction, it could even be cost saving. These two findings from a study that Dutch researchers from Erasmus MC and AMC published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases should be music to the ears of the Dutch Minister for Health Edith Schippers.
PrEP — a smart investment
Recently PrEP became available in Europe, but in the Netherlands it won’t be covered by health insurance. The costs of PrEP are high: 7,400 euros per person per year for daily use. PrEP can safely be taken “periodically”, several hours before one has sex and two consecutive days after. Then costs are much lower, around 3,850 euros per year. For most people, this is still unaffordable. At a cost reduction of 40 percent PrEP would be cost saving, the scientists calculated.
“With every prevented infection we prevent a lifetime of HIV treatment for 500,000 euros,” researcher David van de Vijver (Erasmus MC) explains. And with PrEP we could prevent between 1,000 to 2,500 new HIV infections over the next decade.
Every year there are more than a thousand new HIV infections in the Netherlands. Approximately 70 percent of these infections occur among men who have sex with men. In most cases this happens even before people are aware they have HIV. Users of PrEP not only protect themselves against HIV infection, but also their sex partners.