Cutbacks to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is a government-funded program that provides drugs to people living with AIDS, free of charge. It is instituted in all fifty states and U.S. territories, and implemented using money from both the federal and state governments.

People living with AIDS and HIV often have to take a cocktail of multiple drugs, which can be very expensive. A single drug might cost as much as $20,000 per year! 

ADAP helps its clients get proper medications and stay healthy. "Making sure patients with HIV take their medications faithfully is a high priority of health care workers because it reduces the chance they will develop resistance to drugs and may also lower the risk of transmission."

But recent economic hard times have caused a huge influx of people into ADAP. In 2010, about 1,400 new people entered the program each month, as compared to only 700 per month in 2008. 

As a result, ADAP has taken measures to severely cut back, including: 
  • Lowering annual income eligibility to as little as $21,000
  • Covering fewer drugs
  • Capping wait lists, which have jumped enrollment in the past year from a few hundred to a few thousand in some states. 
ADAP says that people on the wait lists receive free drugs from pharmaceutical companies, but it often isn't that easy. Every company has different rules and regulations for drugs and eligibility. It can be very hard to find a pharmaceutical company that will provide the exact cocktail of drugs needed by a particular patient. 

Budget woes of the state and federal governments make an easy solution seem unlikely.

NEXT: How Moveable Feast's nutritious meals help our clients.
(AP) - States with waiting lists for their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, as of Dec. 9:
  • Arkansas: 5 people
  • Florida: 2,396
  • Georgia: 837
  • Montana: 14
  • North Carolina: 84
  • Ohio: 374
  • South Carolina: 298
  • Virginia: 24
  • Louisiana: 511
States that have cut their AIDS Drug Assistance Programs in other ways, as of Sept. 29.:
  • Arizona: reduced drugs covered
  • Arkansas: reduced drugs covered, lowered financial eligibility
  • Colorado: reduced drugs covered
  • Florida: reduced drugs covered
  • Georgia: reduced drugs covered, implemented medical criteria
  • Idaho: capped enrollment
  • Illinois: reduced drugs covered, instituted monthly cap on expenditures
  • Kentucky: reduced drugs covered
  • Louisiana: discontinued reimbursement of some tests
  • New Jersey: reduced drugs covered
  • North Carolina: reduced drugs covered
  • North Dakota: capped enrollment, instituted annual expenditure cap, lowered financial eligibility
  • Ohio: reduced drugs covered, lowered financial eligibility
  • South Carolina: instituted annual expenditure cap, lowered financial eligibility
  • Utah: reduced drugs covered, lowered financial eligibility
  • Virginia: reduced drugs covered
  • Washington: instituted cost sharing with patients, reduced drugs covered (for uninsured patients only)
  • Wyoming: capped enrollment, reduced drugs covered
Source: National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors

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