June 21, 2002
With the bulk of their funds from the federal government, state and local AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) were created in 1987 and were incorporated in the Ryan White AIDS legislation in 1990. Last year, these programs provided drugs -- some of which can cost as much as $12,000 a year -- to 140,000 people. In June 2001 alone, according to a recent report, these programs filled a total of 246,062 prescriptions for 76,743 individuals at a cost of $63.8 million.
As more people use these programs and the price of the drugs increase, many programs are struggling to meet demand, according to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors in Washington. Ten states have established waiting lists or are otherwise limiting access. While the Bush administration has proposed keeping the funds in 2003 at $619 million, a coalition of AIDS groups has estimated that the programs need an additional $162 million, said Murray Penner, an alliance program manager.
Many states are also having difficulty finding money in their budgets to pay for the programs. Hundreds of people are on waiting lists, including 550 in North Carolina and 220 in Alabama, according to GlaxoSmithKline. The company says a sustainable system is necessary to finance these programs. Glaxo's decision "is a step in the direction drug companies need to be going," Penner said.