South Korea: Health Ministry Approves HIV Prevention Drug but High Price Remains an Obstacle

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved the sale of Truvada, a type of HIV prevention drug PrEP, in South Korea, but the medicine’s high price is raising concerns over its affordability.

According to sources close to the pharmaceutical industry on Monday, Gilead Sciences Korea’s HIV prevention medication Truvada has become the first drug to be acknowledged for its pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) effect by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS).

In a study conducted by Gilead Sciences with a sample of 2,499 individuals, the risk of HIV was reduced by up to 92 percent among gay men in countries including Brazil, Peru, Thailand, the U.S. and South Africa who are thought to be at higher risk.

However, the high price of the drug remains a challenge to many patients and those who wish to take the medicine, with each pill costing 13,720 won. Read more via Korea Biz Wire

Gilead Sciences Korea gets expanded indication for Truvada to prevent HIV

Gilead Sciences Korea said that it got the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s approval to use Truvada as a drug to prevent, not just treat HIV-1/AIDS, a company official said Wednesday.

Truvada is a once-daily pill that is a fixed-dose combination of two antiretroviral medications - tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine – used alone or with other antiretroviral therapies to treat an HIV-1 infection. The drug does not cure either HIV-1 or AIDS.

Despite the good news, speculation is rising on how many people would be able to access the drug due to its price. According to officials related to Gilead Sciences Korea, one pill of Truvada in Korea will cost 13,730 won ($12.7), which translates to around 420,000 won ($390) a month.

Meanwhile, an official related to Gilead Sciences Korea declined to comment on whether it will apply for reimbursement in the country, saying that it is too early to tell. Read more via Korea Bio Med