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California will be first state to sell HIV-prevention drugs over the counter

A man shows Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), an HIV preventative drug. Photo: Daniel Born/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images

California will be the first state to sell HIV-prevention drugs over the counter after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law this week.

Why it matters: It's "a move that supporters say is an important step towards ending the AIDS epidemic," writes the New York Times.

  • There are nearly 40,000 new HIV infections across the country every year, and many people are at risk because they don't take the preventative drug PrEP.
  • PrEP is 99% effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV when taken daily, according to the CDC.
  • The law is set to go into effect in July.
“California will use our market power and our moral power to take on big drug companies and prevent them from keeping affordable generic drugs out of the hands of people who need them. Competition in the pharmaceutical industry helps lower prices for Californians who rely on life-saving treatments.”
— California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a press release

How it works: Pharmacists will receive special training in order to be able to administer 60-day supplies of PrEP, which is used in an emergency after exposure to the virus, per the Times.

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