Utah: Ninety-Nine AIDS Patients to Lose Drug Subsidy
September 25, 2009
Facing a $375,000 deficit, Utah's AIDS Drug Assistance Program is not accepting new applicants, and tighter income rules mean that around 100 patients receiving services will lose some form of the subsidy. State Department of Health projections for ADAP did not foresee a 45 percent increase in applications this year combined with a $100,000 decrease in federal funding, said Michael Lowe, ADAP's administrator for the department.
Lowering the individual income cap from less than $40,000 a year to less than $27,000 means that 92 HIV/AIDS patients on ADAP lost support payments for medicine; 18 lost assistance for premiums in the state's High Risk Insurance Pool; and seven will no longer receive support in temporarily staying with their former workplace insurers. Mental and dental coverage for all ADAP clients was dropped.
Some AIDS drug manufacturers offer need-based assistance to help low-income, uninsured HIV/AIDS patients purchase the medication. But need-based programs may not help uninsured patients who make too much to qualify, but not enough to cover co-payments.
Bristol Myers Squibb started a program for under-insured patients after the economic downturn, said Cristi Barnett, an associate director of business communications for the drug maker. For instance, the BMS program could provide $200 a month for Atripla co-payments for one year. "We are dedicated to helping" patients access HIV treatment, she said.
Toni Johnson, executive director of the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah, lobbied the state Legislature earlier this year for a $275,000 infusion for ADAP. "I will have indisputable proof next year that our [request] is necessary and relevant," she said. However, the Department of Health will not be asking for state funds next year to cover holes in ADAP, because "it's not in the governor's budget," Lowe said.
Salt Lake Tribune
09.24.2009; Sheena Mcfarland
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.