AIDS Drug Assistance
Programs Face Crisis - Now
$43 Million A Year
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Higher drug costs and a growing population of patients mean US AIDS drug assistance programs may soon find it difficult to meet patient needs, despite recent increases in funding.
Those are the findings of a survey conducted by the Henry T. Kaiser Foundation, which also found access to these drug programs varies substantially state by state.
AIDS drug assistance programs (ADAPs) have experienced ''tremendous'' growth since combination antiretroviral therapy became the standard of care in 1995, the survey showed. The number of new clients doubled between 1996 and 1999, from about 27,500 to 55,000. During this period the monthly drug expenditures of these programs more than tripled, increasing from $13.3 million to $43.1 million.
``In most states, ADAP programs have been able to fill the gaps in access to prescription drugs for the nation's low-income HIV-infected population,'' Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out. ``Federal contributions to ADAPs have been growing, but as treatment standards continue to call for newer, more expensive drugs in combination, these programs will continue to be challenged to meet the needs of their clients.''
The study findings also revealed persistent gaps in ADAP in some states. For example, 20 states had ``one or more current or projected ADAP limitations, including 11 states having capped enrollment.''
Six ADAPs have restricted access to or caps on protease inhibitors or other antiretroviral drugs, and one program does not even have protease inhibitors in its formulary. ADAPs in another nine states project that their program budgets will be exhausted before the end of fiscal year 1999.


This Site Served by TheHostPros