A drug used by tens of thousands of people in Germany to protect against HIV infection is currently not sufficiently available. Several manufacturers of so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or Prep for short, have reported delivery bottlenecks to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). Since the turn of the year, there has been a “development towards limited availability” of the drug approved in Germany, the BfArM said at the request of the German Press Agency.
Since September 2019, Prep has been a statutory health insurance benefit in Germany for people with a substantial risk of HIV infection. You take a tablet every day with two active ingredients that suppress the virus from multiplying in the body.
“According to the data we have, the availability of these medicines will stabilize slightly at the beginning of February,” said a BfArM spokesman. However, most delivery bottlenecks are currently forecast until March or April.
Aidshilfe warns of “fatal consequences”
According to a survey by the German Association of Outpatient Doctors for Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine (Dagnä), there are currently not enough medications to supply all users. Accordingly, the vast majority of the HIV-focused practices surveyed are affected by the supply bottlenecks. Many could only release reduced pack sizes. According to Dagnä, some users even had to interrupt their intake or change their therapy. The drug is also taken by people who are already infected with HIV.
If protection against HIV continues to fail, it will have "fatal consequences," warned Sven Warminsky from the board of the German Aid Aid Association a few weeks ago. Safe sex is endangered by the lack. “Politicians must not abandon people who urgently need this medication.” According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 40,000 people in Germany use Prep (as of September 2023).
According to BfArM, some manufacturers are trying to increase product quotas or bring them onto the market earlier than originally planned. It is also currently being clarified whether medication could be made available from abroad. “Initial feedback shows that goods quotas could be identified in the USA,” said the spokesman for the authority.