Gov. Mills signs into law Sanborn bill to increase access to HIV prevention medication

Posted: June 22, 2021 | Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services, Senator Heather Sanborn

AUGUSTA – On June 17, a bill from Sen. Heather Sanborn, D-Portland, was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills. LD 1115, “An Act to Improve Access to HIV Prevention Medications,” will make it easier for Mainers to access lifesaving HIV prevention medication. 

“As we look to leave the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, let us not forget about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and how far we have come since it first appeared in the United States over 40 years ago,” said Sen. Sanborn. “While we don’t yet have a vaccine, we are fortunate to have incredible, lifesaving drugs that can not only treat the virus, but prevent someone from contracting it in the first place. This new law is all about making sure that Mainers don’t need to jump through hoops or spend a fortune when they’re trying to access PrEP and PEP medications and the necessary bloodwork. It will make a real difference in the lives of many people throughout our state, and I thank Gov. Mills for signing the bill into law.” 

LD 1115 will require state-regulated health insurance providers to cover at least one HIV prevention drug for each method of administration with no out-of-pocket cost. One drug for each administration method also must be available without a prior authorization, which can slow down the process of a patient getting a medication. The bill also will set up a process where, under certain conditions, a participating pharmacist would be able to dispense and administer up to a 60-day supply of HIV prevention medication to someone without a prescription from a physician. This process will be subject to rules and protocols approved by Maine’s Board of Pharmacy. 

HIV prevention medication is defined as either PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is used to prevent an HIV-negative person from contracting HIV before exposure to the virus. PEP is used after an HIV-negative person believes they have been exposed to the virus. When taken as prescribed, PrEP and PEP are highly effective. 

The law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.