Some HIV/AIDS Patients’ Drug Access Complicated Under Medicare Drug Plan in Washington State, Advocates Say
Several HIV/AIDS advocates and government health officials at a hearing before the Washington state Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS on Tuesday said that HIV-positive people are experiencing problems with the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Seattle Times reports. Although advocates acknowledged improvements in the program since its launch on Jan. 1, they expressed concern that confusion among pharmacists is inhibiting access to some medications. According to advocates, some Medicare drug plans do not cover certain drugs and many patients are unable to make copayments, which has left some patients without their drugs because of cost. For HIV-positive people, problems with drug access are especially worrisome as missed doses can be life-threatening, the Times reports. The advisory council on Tuesday said it will recommend to Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) that the state create a fund that would provide medications for people who fail to sign up for Medicare drug coverage by the May 15 deadline, according to the Times. Janice Adams of the Seattle regional office of CMS said the agency is working to enhance the program (Solomon, Seattle Times, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.