Crossposted from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will further expand access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) HIV prevention medications by adding donated dispensing services from Albertsons Companies and Walmart to the Ready, Set, PrEP program beginning no later than July 30, 2020. The program allows uninsured patients to fill their prescriptions at no cost.
Ready, Set, PrEP is a nationwide program led by HHS providing PrEP medications to thousands of individuals who qualify, increasing access to PrEP medications – a safe, effective way to prevent HIV – and bringing us one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.
Albertsons Companies operate pharmacies across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, Amigos United, Market Street United and Carrs. Walmart operates more than 5,000 pharmacies in 49 states and the District of Columbia through its Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs.
They join Avita Pharmacy , CVS Health , Health Mart , Rite Aid , and Walgreens in donating their dispensing services to HHS through more than 32,000 pharmacy locations in support of the program. Combined, these donating pharmacies represent about half of the pharmacies in the United States. They provide locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to mailing the donated medications for free. These pharmacies will also assist patients with medication adherence.
“Pharmacists are often the first point of contact with a health care professional for many Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “They are combating the COVID-19 pandemic by ordering and administering COVID-19 tests and with the help of donated dispensing services to the Ready, Set, PrEP program, pharmacists are playing an important role in ending the HIV epidemic. The donations further expand access for patients by making PrEP medications available at groceries stores, even more pharmacies and retail stores, and by mail.”
Established in 2019, Ready, Set, PrEP is a key component of the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV transmissions in the United States by 75% by 2025 and by 90% by 2030.
“Our pharmacies are excited to continue our partnership with HHS and the Ready, Set, PrEP program, which directly supports our mission of providing compassionate and confidential health services to keep our communities healthy and safe. By offering this service to individuals in this population from our pharmacies, we’re able to assist them with easy access to preventative options and medication counseling for HIV care,” said Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness, Albertsons Companies.
“Walmart is an important part of the communities we serve, and our stores are a center of well-being for our customers. In the U.S., 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart, so our presence in thousands of communities helps us make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans,” said Dr. Thomas Van Gilder, chief medical officer, Walmart. “From our specialty pharmacy services to our commitment to provide affordable, accessible care for all Americans, regardless of insurance status, we are proud to continue our mission to help people live better – and healthier lives – by donating our dispensing services to increase access to PrEP. We thank HHS for the opportunity to be part of this worthwhile effort.”
Although more than 1 million people at risk for HIV in the United States could benefit from PrEP, only a small fraction of them get the medication. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at reducing an individual’s risk of acquiring HIV.
For More Information
Eligibility requirements are available at GetYourPrEP.com or by calling 855-447-8410. To learn more about PrEP’s role in ending the HIV epidemic, visit Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. For an explanation of how the program works and more information about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, and research, visit HIV.gov.