After Public Backlash, Publix Will Now Cover HIV Prevention Medication

Publix denies preventative HIV drug coverage to its employees

Publix has announced via Twitter that they are in the process of reversing course on PrEP: "Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers". While most US insurance plans at least partially cover PrEP, it can be prohibitively expensive for Americans without health coverage (or those with extremely high drug co-pays on their insurance plans). "We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families", the company tweeted.

New Zealand is about to take a pioneering approach to fighting HIV/AIDS-by publicly funding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication Truvada, manufactured by US biotech giant Gilead. We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible.

- Publix (@Publix) February 6, 2018...possible.

The drastic price cut (Truvada now costs about $30 per day in New Zealand) could go a long way toward widescale HIV prevention, as the discount will be targeted toward the most high-risk residents. Most large companies' insurance does cover the drug. "It wasn't just an insurance issue; it was [that] the employer did not want it covered in the insurance".

Publix denied coverage of Truvada which has been approved for use as PrEP. "No one doesn't know someone who works at Publix, so for them to react quickly, change policy, change their benefits and prescription coverage was awesome", Shay said.

The company's board is largely conservative and Publix scored a zero on HRC's analysis of workplace fairness.

HIV cases in Florida have been on the rise since 2012, according to the state's Department of Health.

"They're not a mom-and-pop grocery store", Barrington Ward said.

"In deciding to fund PrEP, PHARMAC has endorsed a key part of NZAF's strategic plan - seeing PrEP as a safe and effective way of preventing HIV transmission during sex, and one that could make a huge impact on the number of new HIV diagnoses in NZ - which was at its highest ever in 2016", says Dr Myers.

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