Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a brand-name tablet that’s prescribed to help treat and prevent HIV. The cost of the drug with and without insurance can depend on several factors, such as whether Truvada has a savings program or public health program.

Truvada belongs to a drug class called antiviral drugs. Truvada is a combination drug that contains emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Emtricitabine and TDF are both in a drug class called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Truvada is available in a generic version.

Read on to learn about Truvada and cost, as well as how to save money on prescriptions. If you’d like other information about Truvada, refer to this article.

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As with all medications, the cost of Truvada can vary. Factors that may affect the price you’ll pay include:

  • your treatment plan
  • your insurance coverage
  • the pharmacy you use
  • whether Truvada has a savings program or public health program (see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below)

To find out what the cost of Truvada will be for you, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Note: If you have insurance, your insurance company may require prior authorization before it covers Truvada. This means the company and your doctor will discuss Truvada in regard to your treatment. The insurance company will then determine whether the medication is covered. If a drug requires prior authorization but you start treatment without the prior approval, you could pay the full cost of the medication. You can ask your insurance company whether Truvada requires prior authorization.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about drug cost and Truvada.

How does the cost of Truvada compare with the cost of Descovy?

The cost of Truvada may differ from the cost of Descovy (emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide). The difference depends on your health insurance, your dosage, and the pharmacy you use.

Truvada and Descovy are both used as part of HIV treatment. They can also both be prescribed as preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help prevent HIV.

Truvada and Descovy contain similar active drugs. Truvada contains emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, while Descovy contains emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide. Although these drugs are similar, they can have different effects on the body. This difference may also affect the cost. Descovy is also newer, and newer drugs typically cost more. Learn more about the cost of Descovy in this article.

For more information about how Truvada compares with Descovy, read this article.

Is there a cost difference when Truvada is used for PrEP versus treatment of HIV?

Sometimes. If you have health insurance, your plan may have different categories for HIV treatment and prevention. Your provider may cover different costs for treatment and prevention.

There are also public health programs that provide free or low cost Truvada. Some programs decide on different costs for treatment and prevention.

For more information on savings programs, see the “Financial and insurance assistance” section below. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist about ways to reduce your Truvada cost.

Truvada contains the active drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). It’s available as the generic combination drug, emtricitabine/TDF. A generic drug is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If your doctor has prescribed Truvada and you’re interested in using generic emtricitabine/TDF instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider, as it may only cover one or the other.

To find out how the cost of this generic drug compares with the cost of Truvada, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

WHY ARE COSTS DIFFERENT FOR BRAND-NAME DRUGS VS. GENERIC DRUGS?

Brand-name drugs can be expensive because of the research needed to test their safety and effectiveness. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell it for up to 20 years. When the brand-name drug’s patent expires, multiple manufacturers can create generic versions. This marketplace competition may lead to lower costs for generics. Also, because generics contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t require the same costly testing.

If you take Truvada long term, you may be able to lower its cost in the following ways.

Getting a 3-month supply

You may be able to get a 90-day supply of Truvada. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Using a mail-order pharmacy

Truvada may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this type of service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to receive your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug via mail order.

If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.

If you need financial support to pay for Truvada, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. For example:

  • The Gilead Advancing Access program is available for Truvada. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 800-226-2056 or visit the program website.
  • Some websites provide details about drug assistance programs, ways to make the most of your insurance coverage, and links to savings cards and other services. Two such websites are:
  • Ready, Set, PrEP is a federal assistance program. It offers low-cost or no-cost Truvada options to people who meet certain eligibility requirements.
  • ViiVConnect offers a program to help pay for PrEP injections. For more information, call 844-588-3288 or visit the program website.
  • Your individual state may have a PrEP assistance program to cover different treatment costs. To find out if your state has one, see here.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions with or without insurance, check out this article.

Now that you’ve learned about cost and Truvada, you may still have some questions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can provide personalized guidance about cost issues related to Truvada. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you would pay for Truvada.

Here are some other resources you may find helpful:

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.