Close up of pills

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Beginning in 2020, patients in California will be able to receive HIV prevention drugs without a prescription.

This bill, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, will now allow pharmacists to give pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those who are at an increased, or higher risk of contracting HIV, and dispense post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to people who have likely been exposed to the virus. NPR reports that California State Legislature passed the bill, titled Senate Bill 159, in both of its chambers in September.

There have been concerns with this bill, as it could lead to safety concerns with prolonged use without a doctor’s direct oversight. The California Medical Association ended up withdrawing its opposition following an amendment that was made, the amendment would limit PrEP 60 days, and following the expiration of that timeframe, a patient will be required to consult with a doctor before being allowed to continue with the medicine.

“Recent breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of HIV can save lives,” Gov. Newsom said after signing SB 159. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS. I applaud the Legislature for taking action to expand access to these treatments and getting us closer to ending HIV and AIDS for good.”

The bill was lead by Senator Scott Wiener, allows patients to buy the medicine without having to go through all the hassle of obtaining prior authorization from their insurance companies, which can take up to two weeks. Under the new law, pharmacists will be required to provide specific, and detailed instructions on how to properly administer the drugs, as well as provide information on all possible side effects.

The bill, which was spearheaded by state Sen. Scott Wiener, also allows patients to purchase the medication without obtaining prior authorization from their insurance companies. Under the law, pharmacists will be required to provide instructions on how to take the drugs, as well as provide information on the possible side effects.