How much do HIV drugs cost in the UK?
Hi, hope much do HIV meds cost in the UK. Does this mean I am just given the cheapest drugs?
Thanks for your question.
Drug pricing in the UK is complicated because the prices paid by the NHS are never made public. Also, different regions in the UK negotiate different prices with different companies.
This can make the actual price much lower than the price listed in the British National Formulary (BNF).
The graphic in Table 1 shows the relative costs for commonly used combinations when starting ART. This is from the Midlands and East of England region.
Cost is never the most important factor for deciding treatment. Even the most expensive combinations are very cost effective. Every doctor can prescribe every HIV drug when this is the best treatment for a particular patient.
Cost becomes important when several options are appropriate for an individual. In this case, NHS prescribing is based on using the least expensive one first.
If someone has problems with side effects, switching to an alternative drug should always be easy in the UK.
Similar tables are available for switching treatment. These can be seen in this detailed document from the same NHS region.
Source: Midlands & East Region: Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Prescribing Implementation Guidance for Adult and Adolescent Patients Starting and Switching Treatment 2021-2022. (July 2021 update). This replaces all previous versions. Full document.
This answer has a lot more details about cost and access:
Note: This graphic in this answer was updated in August 2021 from a question posted in Feb 2018.