More Than 700 People on ADAP Waiting Lists; Program Needs $214 Million in New Funding, Advocates Say
At least 700 HIV-positive people in the United States are on waiting lists to receive antiretroviral drugs from AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, and two people have died while waiting for the drugs, the Charleston Gazette reports (Heys, Charleston Gazette, 9/3). The federal-state ADAP program provides free or low-cost medication to low-income HIV-positive individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid or other drug assistance programs. Many state ADAPs are experiencing financial trouble due to high demand for the drugs, soaring prescription costs and state budget shortfalls. Fifteen states currently have waiting lists or access restrictions on their ADAPs, and four more states anticipate having to impose new or additional restrictions on their programs in fiscal year 2003 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/29). Federal funding for ADAP has increased from $52 million in 1996 to $639 million last year, and during that time, the number of people using the programs rose 154% and monthly drug costs increased by 370% (Charleston Gazette, 9/3).
AIDS policy experts estimate that ADAP will require a total of $214 million in new federal funding next year in order to restore stability and serve the people currently on waiting lists (ADAP Working Group release, 9/2). According to the Gazette, an appropriations bill before the Senate this week would increase ADAP funding by only $25 million. The House version of the bill, which was passed in July, includes about $39 million in new funding (Charleston Gazette, 9/3). According to the ADAP Working Group, an amendment to the Senate bill would fully fund ADAPs. "We ask all Senators from both sides of the aisle to support that amendment, or any modification of it that will fully fund ADAP, because it is unthinkable that in our great nation, individuals are dying while waiting to gain access to vital medications through ADAP," Gene Copello, executive director of Florida AIDS Action and co-chair of the Southern AIDS Coalition, said (ADAP Working Group release, 9/2).