There are three ways to access HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Australia:
1. Through the Australian health-care system
For an Australian resident with a current Medicare card, PrEP can be accessed through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at a subsidised cost. As PrEP is listed as a Schedule 85 (s85) drug, any doctor or authorised nurse practitioner can write a script for PrEP which can be taken to any pharmacy for dispensing. If PrEP is accessed in this way, a PBS co-payment at the pharmacy will need to be made.
2. Private script for supply from Australian pharmaceutical manufacturer
Any doctor or authorised nurse practitioner can write a private script for PrEP and they have three brands to choose from (currently Gilead Sciences Pty Ltd, Generic Health Pty Ltd, Apotex Pty Ltd and Alphapharm Pty Ltd). Patients can have this script dispensed at a community pharmacy. The cost for a private script is higher than for PBS-subsidised medicines. This option is generally used by people who are not eligible for Medicare and who do not feel comfortable using the Personal Importation Scheme described below.
3. Through personal importation or purchase
If a person is not eligible to access PrEP through Medicare, or finds the cost of purchasing PrEP locally too high, then another option is to purchase a generic version of the drug online from a reliable overseas supplier using the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Personal Importation Scheme. A script from a
doctor is still required before ordering online. There are multiple overseas suppliers who will supply PrEP for import into Australia at a range of costs. The PrEP Access Now website has more information on personal importation.