More Than 1,300 People on ADAP Waiting Lists in 11 States, NASTAD Report Says
The number of people on waiting lists nationwide for enrollment in AIDS Drug Assistance Programs currently totals 1,307 in 11 states, according to the latest "ADAP Watch" released on Wednesday by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD release, 10/6). 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, 9/29). According to the "ADAP Watch," Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia have ADAP waiting lists. Fifteen states -- including Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming -- have implemented other ADAP cost-containment strategies since April 2003. In addition, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon and Wyoming are anticipating new or additional ADAP restrictions during fiscal year 2004, which ends March 31, 2005 (NASTAD release, 10/6). President Bush in June ordered the immediate release of $20 million to purchase AIDS-related drugs for states with ADAP waiting lists, but only the 10 states that had waiting lists at the time of the order -- Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia -- are set to benefit from the funding. The Health Resources and Services Administration is coordinating the program with a pharmacy benefit manager to purchase the drugs and distribute them directly to individuals on the states' ADAP waiting lists as of June 21 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/29). The one-time emergency funding will cover all but 22 HIV-positive individuals who are currently on waiting lists, according to the release.
Although NASTAD lauded the Bush administration for allocating $20 million in emergency funding, the group said that the future of ADAP funding and the prospects for transitioning individuals covered by the $20 million into ADAPs when the one-time allocation is spent are "bleak," according to the release. NASTAD Executive Director Julie Scofield said, "We are extremely troubled that there is no apparent plan to continue to provide medications for these people on waiting lists," adding, "This is an ongoing, severe crisis in which many states are struggling desperately to provide these lifesaving medications to people in need. A one-time infusion of funds, while greatly appreciated, does not solve the ongoing ADAP fiscal crisis that began three years ago. Unfortunately, programs will continue to make difficult decisions to keep programs solvent" (NASTAD release, 10/6).