Budget Restrictions May Force AIDS Drug Assistance Program To Adopt Restrictions
Budget constraints may force the state to impose restrictions on its AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which provides AIDS drugs for free or at reduced prices to about 26,000 state residents who otherwise could not afford the drugs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Under the program, state residents earning less than $34,000 annually receive the drugs at no cost, while people earning up to about $50,000 per year pay copayments for the drugs. According to ADAP officials, the state's program will cost about $24 million more than was budgeted for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, causing the state to consider limiting access to medications. Michael Montgomery, chief of the Department of Health Services Office of AIDS, said, "We are going to have to look at a waiting list, as well as removing some drugs from the formulary," adding that although the state has a robust ADAP program, the state is "facing a very serious budget deficit."
A coalition of AIDS advocacy organizations has proposed a series of measures to eliminate the funding gap, including applying rebates from drug companies to the ADAP instead of the state general fund. Dana Van Gorder, lobbyist for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, said, "We're very concerned. There could be literally a few thousand Californians who suddenly find themselves in a situation where they cannot find medications." Montgomery said, "Over time, California's program has been able to grow along with the need," adding, "That seems to be coming to an end this year" (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1). NPR's "Morning Edition" today reported on the effects of states' budget gaps on ADAPs. The segment discussed California's ADAP and included comments from Montgomery. It is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.