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The Missouri House recently overwhelmingly supported a bill to make it easier to obtain drugs to prevent HIV infection.

Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, sponsored the bill, which allows pharmacists to dispense medication for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and HIV postexposure prophylaxis without a prescription. The pharmacists must follow a written protocol authorized by a licensed physician.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the bill was supported by 148 lawmakers from both parties, with seven Republicans voting "present."

Christofanelli said he believes people should be able to access the drugs wherever it's most convenient because they can save lives. We agree. The development of HIV/AIDS drugs has saved countless lives over the past few decades and now allows many people to live with HIV as a manageable chronic condition.

To our knowledge, these aren't drugs that are abused, and making them more readily available is a good public health measure.

Patients would have to follow up with a physician and receive a prescription to get more than a 30-day supply of the pre-exposure medication, the Post- Dispatch reported.

The paper reported Christofanelli said he hopes big pharmacy chains will adopt the plan if it is approved by the Missouri Senate.

The bill is not expected to impact state revenue.

The bill now goes to the Senate. We urge senators to overwhelmingly support it as House members have.

News Tribune

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