This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with seven pharmaceutical companies and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), released an updated Common Patient Assistance Program Application (CPAPA). Developed in 2012, the CPAPA is intended to be used by both people living with HIV and their providers (e.g., doctors or case managers) to apply to all HIV patient assistance programs (PAPs) at once, thus reducing the application paperwork and time. PAPs are administered by private drug companies and foundations to help patients obtain free or low-cost medications if they qualify based on each program's eligibility requirements.
The CPAPA streamlines the PAP applications of various pharmaceutical companies into one common form that people living with HIV (PLWH) and their providers can then send to each PAP. This greatly reduces the amount of necessary paperwork when applying for different PAPs. Since its introduction in 2012, over 10,000 individuals have used the CPAPA to apply for assistance. To improve the application process, CPAPA was recently updated to provide clarity of the form's instructions, ensure completeness of the application, and allow patients and case managers to fill out the form electronically.
The vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is that the U.S. will reduce HIV infections and ensure that high-quality, life-extending care will be available to everyone living with HIV free of stigma and discrimination. CPAPA, without question, is helping to achieve this goal. By streamlining how people living with HIV who need help covering the cost of their medications are able to obtain those medications -- which are key to achieving viral suppression, improving health outcomes, and preventing new infections -- the CPAPA helps reduce barriers to accessing affordable, effective care and treatment. CPAPA allows patients, physicians, and case managers to complete a single application to all PAPs at one time and then submit the application to each PAP that covers the medications the patient needs.
The updated CPAPA is also available on AIDS.gov and the HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau's web site.
Murray Penner is executive director of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).