Community Pharmacists Initiated PrEP: Expanding PrEP Access in the community

With more than 20 trials conducted worldwide, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment has lived up to its promise of preventing HIV transmission safely and effectively. It’s available more than ever-but many populations that are at risk for contracting HIV are not aware of how easy it is to start PrEP.

You don’t need an HIV specialist or even a doctor to start PrEP-you can visit Mission Wellness Pharmacy for information and medication today. When taken daily as prescribed, PrEP has a 99% chance of preventing HIV transmission. Talk to a pharmacist provider to learn how can get started.

In this video, watch Drs. Grant and Lopez discuss how pharmacies can help with HIV prevention. With pharmacy-based PrEP, it's easy to access the HIV preventive medications, PrEP and PEP. This video also features the doctors’ experiences with PrEP, a mock visit by someone looking to start the therapy, and information for pharmacists seeking to start a PrEP program.

Community pharmacists are making PrEP accessible to more populations in need. Ask us your questions today.

In 2019, California became the first state in the nation to pass a bill to allow community pharmacists to initiate (prescribe) PrEP and PEP. The bill will be rolled out in 2020. Read about SB159 here.

Senate Bill 159

Senate Bill (SB) 159 was signed into law October 7, 2019. SB159 allows pharmacists to initiate (prescribe) up to 60 days of PrEP provided the pharmacist has determined the patient has a recent (within 7 days) HIV negative test. Pharmacists are able to conduct rapid HIV blood test, which the CDC guidelines say is an acceptable HIV test for starting PrEP. The bill is the first state protocol in the country to allow pharmacists to initiate PrEP. A similar state protocol was passed for PEP in 2017 in New York state. California’s SB159 allows for a full course of PEP to be provided to patients. Community pharmacists in California have been able to provide a number of medications per state protocol, including vaccines, naloxone, oral contraceptives and tobacco cessation medications. Federal agencies, including the CDC, the United States Surgeon General and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services support the use of state based protocols and collaborative practice agreements to increase timely access to medications. The majority of states also allow similar protocols. Given that the HIV epidemic has affected persons who may not have access to a healthcare provider, increasing PrEP and PEP access through pharmacies has potential to impact PrEP and PEP education and uptake. Pharmacists receive a doctorate degree in pharmacology and are the medication experts. Numerous studies have demonstrated pharmacists’ impact in improving medication adherence and health outcomes. It is time for pharmacists to have an impact on the prevention of HIV!

Questions about SB159

When will I be able to go to a pharmacy and get PrEP?

SB159 requires pharmacists to complete continuing education on PrEP and PEP prior to providing the medication. The bill mandates the California Board of Pharmacy to set the education requirements, which will be released later this year. Once the requirements are released, pharmacists can obtain necessary training and pharmacies can begin to incorporate the new services in their stores. Based on prior state protocols, it could take some companies longer than others to incorporate the services./p>

Why has Mission Wellness been able to provide PrEP and PEP prior to the bill?

Pharmacists can initiate (prescribe), modify and discontinue medication under doctor’s orders or via a collaborative practice agreement. The Mission Wellness Pharmacy’s One Stop PrEP program is conducted under collaborative practice with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and is a demonstration project. Read more about the program here and watch a video by Drs. Grant and Lopez.

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