Wednesday, June 10, 2009

State cuts meds available for HIV/AIDS patients

PHOENIX - The Arizona Daily Star reported that a statewide drug assistance program for HIV and AIDS patients is dramatically slashing the number of drugs it will cover, leaving local health care providers scrambling for alternatives.

A list of drugs covered by the state-run AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) was seven pages until this week. Now it’s three. More than 100 drugs are now gone.
The cuts mean patients will not be funded for several medications that help with problems like side effects from their illness and from other medications. At worst, patients who aren’t able to get those drugs could become sicker and ultimately require more care, one local HIV/AIDs doctor says.

But state health officials stress that critical drugs — anti-retrovirals and drugs for opportunistic infections — will not be affected. The program is funded primarily with federal money, which is drying up as the cost of drugs rise and as more HIV and AIDS patients are enrolling.

The state is $2.3 million short of what it had asked from the federal government, leaving them with no choice but to make cuts, said Judy Norton , chief of the state’s office of HIV, STD and Hepatitis Services.

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