On Monday, the Obama administration “issued a clarification that allows states, particularly Florida, to receive at least as much as they received” last year in emergency funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a national program funded by the federal and state governments and run by the states that provides prescription drug coverage for low-income people with HIV/AIDS who have limited or no prescription drug coverage. In July, the administration had announced that states could only receive up to $3 million in “emergency relief funding.” But under the revised guidance, Florida could be eligible for $7 million, the amount it received last year. A press release from the AIDS Institute announced the decision:
“We are pleased the Obama Administration heard our objections and those of others in Florida that its decision to limit the level of emergency ADAP funding to less than what it received last year would have forced the state to remove people currently taking medications from the program.” [...]
Florida currently has over 3,680 people on the ADAP waiting list, which represents 42% of the wait lists nationwide. “This new clarification means that Florida will only be eligible to receive up to 18% of the competitive portion of the emergency resources. While this will help keep people currently taking medications now on the program it will not reduce the wait list, which is growing each month.” added Ruppal.
“While we certainly acknowledge the Administration’s modification will allow existing patients to stay on their medications, this new emergency pot of funding should be distributed to people with HIV/AIDS who need medications the most. We again ask the Administration to reconsider their decision and provide Florida with ADAP emergency relief funding that reflects the state’s share of the need.” concluded Ruppal.
States have been tightening their budgets over the last year and HIV/AIDS patients are paying the highest price. At least 18 states have taken such steps as capping enrollment, reducing the drug formulary, implementing medical criteria, and lowering the income ceiling for eligibility. As of July 28, 8,871 individuals in 13 states were on waiting lists to enlist in the program and receive life-saving medications, the ADAP Advocacy Association reports.