Manchester City Council today (30/01/19) pledged its full support for the availability of PrEP which could save the NHS more than £1 billion.
Both the Liberal Democrat and Labour groups supported a motion demanding immediate action on the availability of the HIV prevention drug PrEP. It called on Manchester MPs, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and the Government to push for a full rollout as soon as possible.
But Manchester Liberal Democrat leader John Leech claimed the limitations of the IMPACT trial have led to an "immoral exclusion of high-risk individuals" and demanded an end to the trial period.
The gay rights campaigner pleaded with NHS chiefs and ministers to stop arguing over the undeniable effectiveness of PrEP and start saving lives.
Whilst the two parties were united on the motion today, there was a slight difference in the demands; Labour supported the rollout but did not want local authorities to burden the cost, whilst the Lib Dems said they would make the drug available regardless of the cost to local authorities.
John Leech, the architect of 'The Alan Turing Law' , said:
"PrEP is readily available in Scotland because they, like us, recognised its undisputable effectiveness. Yet here in England, patients who do not meet requirements for a trial are being turned away.
"But what are we trialling? We know it works and the decision to limit the trial population is only resulting in the immoral exclusion of high-risk individuals from preventative treatment.
"These people are then faced with having to buy PrEP medication commercially at a cost of nearly £5,000 a year.
"There are no more excuses left, NHS chiefs, ministers, MPs and the Government need to wake up to the undeniable truth, end the trial period and make PrEP available on the NHS as soon as humanly possible."
John Leech is certainly no stranger to the LGBTQ+ community; after leading a nearly decade-long campaign to pardon Alan Turing, he successfully secured pardons for the 75,000 other people convicted of the same outdated crime, now known as 'The Alan Turing Law'. He also led the campaign to outlaw homophobic chanting at football matches, played a key role in the historic bill to introduce same-sex marriage and most recently launched a campaign to tackle the rise of homophobic and transphobic bullying in Manchester's high schools.