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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: October 14, 2015 04:19 PM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione
To: All Senate members
Subject: PEP for PA
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will require private insurance companies to cover Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) HIV medication. PEP is a 30-day emergency medication taken to prevent the HIV virus from copying itself and spreading throughout the body. Importantly, PEP must be taken as soon as possible—within 72 hours of HIV infection— to be effective. PEP is used primarily by healthcare workers who have been exposed to HIV-infected fluids on the job, although PEP can be taken by individuals who suspect they have been exposed to HIV infection through unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, or sexual assault.

When an occupational exposure occurs, Workers’ Compensation automatically covers all costs for PEP. However, if a non-occupational exposure occurs, individuals must pay the full cost if their insurance does not cover PEP. Without insurance, the full 30 day prescription of PEP can cost $800 to $1500. This cost does not include the many blood tests required during and after treatment. The Centers Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the average lifetime costs of HIV treatment to be $367,134, with Medicaid shouldering much of the cost. It is important to note that pharmaceutical companies, that manufacture PEP, offer financial assistance, although the sometimes-lengthy approval process may take up time that the individual may not have.

I know you agree that health is a non-partisan issue and that no one should worry about being able to afford emergency preventive HIV medication. Please join me in ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to this important lifesaving medicine.

Introduced as SB1085