Illinois ADAP Receives $3M in Additional Funds To Cover Rising Drug Prices, Increase in Clients
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) announced last week that the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program will receive an additional $3.1 million in funds under the state's 2005 budget to cover the rising costs of antiretroviral drugs, an increase in clients and additional medications, the Belleville News-Democrat reports. More than half of the additional funds -- $1.6 million -- will be used for medications to treat the possible side effects of antiretrovirals, including heart disease and liver failure. The remaining $1.5 million will cover the rising cost of both antiretroviral and other HIV/AIDS-related medications and an increase in the number of ADAP clients. Illinois also has negotiated an additional $1 million in discounts, rebates and price freezes from nine antiretroviral manufacturers that are effective until March 2005 and possibly longer. "We need more for AIDS no matter what the service is," Sharon Smith, executive director of the community-based AIDS service organization Bethany Place, said.
The increase in funds is a reprieve from the "bad news" state ADAP administrators have received in recent months, according to the News-Democrat. HIV/AIDS prevalence has increased in certain areas of the state, and patients are living longer because of treatment advances, increasing the number of people who require ADAP services, according to Andre Rawls, section chief for HIV/AIDS at the Illinois Department of Public Health. Currently, antiretrovirals cost more than $30,000 per patient per year in Illinois, and Abbott Laboratories recently "caused an uproar" by raising the price of its AIDS drug Norvir, the Press-Democrat reports (Fitzgerald, Belleville News-Democrat, 8/9). In December 2003, Abbott quadrupled the per-patient wholesale price of Norvir, which is used primarily as a booster for other protease inhibitors (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/5). According to Blagojevich spokesperson Abby Ottenhoff, the concessions Illinois will receive from Abbott and other pharmaceutical companies may allow the state to expand the list of drugs covered under its ADAP. "Our goal is to get lower prices," she said, adding, "It seems like the logical way to do it" (Belleville News-Democrat, 8/9).