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U.S. News

Arizona: AIDS Medication Program Cuts List of Covered Drugs

June 15, 2009

The state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) has slashed the list of drugs it pays for from seven to three pages, leaving many low-income recipients to cover the cost of medications that help with side effects of the disease. Critical drugs -- antiretrovirals and those for opportunistic infections -- will not be affected, health officials stressed.

The list of more than 130 drugs cut from the formulary includes pain relievers, antibiotics, medicines for chronic conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol, and psychotropic drugs for depression and anxiety.

Judy Norton, head of the state office of HIV, STD and hepatitis C services, said Arizona had no choice but to make the cuts after receiving $2.3 million less than what it asked from the federal government. "We're left with just under $12 million and we'd hoped to be just under $14 million," she said. "This is what keeps you up at night."

Key to Arizona's reduced allocation was the fact that twice as many states this year applied for federal AIDS drug funding. ADAP, known as a "payer of last resort," covers patients who are not eligible for state Medicaid.

Notification about the change has gone out to 1,117 patients and 201 providers. "There has been a cut in funding, an increase in cost of services, and an increase in enrollment of new clients," it states. "Because we have so many new clients, we need to make sure we have enough money for everyone to get their HIV [antiretroviral/opportunistic infection] medications."

Wendell Hicks, executive director of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, said his group will work with ADAP patients to help them procure the medicines they need. "These medications are expensive," he noted. "This is going to impact the whole community, but we will do our best to connect patients to resources while available."

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
06.11.2009; Stephanie Innes

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Revised Arizona ADAP Formulary (Effective July 1, 2009)
Questions About Formulary Reductions (From the Arizona ADAP)
Arizona ADAP Letter to Clients About Formulary Reductions
2014 National ADAP Monitoring Project Annual Report (PDF)
ADAP Waiting List Update: 35 People in 1 State as of July 23
More News on ADAP Funding and Activism

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