May 25, 2010
As of May 20, there are 1,143 people in 10 U.S. states who are on waiting lists for their states' AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which help low-income HIVers who are often uninsured pay for HIV/AIDS medications.
In South Carolina, one person has already died on the waiting list, which has grown to 112 people -- and the situation there may be getting worse this week. In March, a proposed South Carolina budget cut all funding for ADAP. The budget, which enters a final round of debates today, would also cut money for other health services, such as cancer screenings, and limit Medicaid to cover only three drug prescriptions per person. The South Carolina Campaign to End AIDS rallied in protest of the budget this morning.
More ADAP news is coming in from across the country as states seek to finalize their 2010-11 budgets:
Good news for ADAP is rare, but there has been some this month: The ADAP Crisis Task Force (ACTF) has met with all eight pharmaceutical companies that produce brand-name HIV/AIDS medications in the U.S. and has reached agreements with Abbott, Merck and Tibotec to help ADAPs in need. With this agreement, the companies will increase discounts and rebates and freeze prices on some HIV drugs for ADAPs, as well as improve access to pharmaceutical-based patient assistance programs for people left on ADAP waiting lists. ACTF is hopeful about reaching similar agreements with the other companies.