Arkansas ADAP Considering Cutting Coverage of Some Medications in Response to Rising Program Costs
The Arkansas Department of Health likely will reduce the amount of medication offered through its AIDS Drug Assistance Program due to the escalating cost of maintaining the program, the AP/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (AP/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/12). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/5). Although a final decision has not yet been made, state officials are anticipating making cuts to the state ADAP, which is expected to cost the state $2 million this year, according to the AP/Democrat-Gazette. In response to the program's rising costs, ADAP administrators are planning to introduce a tiered system that will indicate which drugs would be the first to be cut from the program, the AP/Democrat-Gazette reports. Treatments that are available through drug manufacturer assistance programs or medications that HIV-positive patients could temporarily stop taking likely will be the first drugs to be temporarily eliminated, according to Dr. Nate Smith, medical director for infectious diseases and the health department.
Previous ADAP Cuts
If the state program decides to go ahead with eliminating certain medications that are covered under its ADAP, it would be the latest in a series of cuts for the Arkansas program, the AP/Democrat-Gazette reports. The state in 2002 received $4.4 million in federal ADAP funding to eliminate a waiting list, but the funds ran out and "cuts began," according to the AP/Democrat-Gazette. The state program in April placed a cap on the number of people the program could serve and a waiting list for the program began soon after. "We're running out of money because we're doing such an excellent job reaching out to clients," Jerry Jones, an infectious diseases service unit leader at the state health department, said, adding that the program treats more people now than it did in the past. It costs an average of $1,000 per month to treat an ADAP beneficiary, according to Jones (AP/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/12).