South Carolina Health Department To Request $3M Supplemental, $4.5M Annual Funding Increase for State ADAP, Official Says
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Jan. 9, when the state Legislature assembles, plans to make a request for $3 million in supplementary funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year for its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, as well as a $4.5 million increase in annual financing, Clair Boatwright, a spokesperson for the department, said last week, the New York Times reports. More than 350 HIV-positive people in South Carolina are on a waiting list to be enrolled in the state's ADAP, a federal- and state-funded program that provides HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. South Carolina's ADAP provides about 1,300 people monthly with antiretroviral drugs, which cost an average of $885 per month (Dewan, New York Times, 12/29/06). The state is scheduled to receive an increase in federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment programs after the passage of a compromise bill (HR 6143) that would reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the U.S. Congress in last month passed the bill by voice vote. The CARE Act funds will help cover a $3 million budget shortfall in South Carolina's ADAP (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/13/06). Boatwright said that the health department does not have emergency funds to remove some people from the waiting list and that no uncommitted money is available to be diverted to the state's ADAP. South Carolina health officials, physicians and HIV/AIDS advocates in response to the budget shortfall have started preparing what they call the first organized campaign to put HIV/AIDS financing on the state's legislative agenda, the Times reports. According to state health officials, all but 10 people on the waiting list are now on so-called patient assistance programs, an emergency measure in which drug companies temporarily provide antiretrovirals at no cost to HIV-positive people. Patients must submit an application to each drug company if they need medications from more than one manufacturer, and some experts say many people are unable to obtain every drug they need (New York Times, 12/29/06).