Cash crunch

Published: Friday 15 August 1997

in the us , the aids Drug Assistance Program ( adap ), which used to cover the drug costs of 80,000 aids patients not covered by Medicaid or other private health insurances, is facing a hard time. This is because the budget for the fiscal year ending in October would fall short by an estimated $380 million, while there has been a 77 per cent increase in the number of clients. Another reason for this shortfall is the new combination therapies which, though effective, are far more expensive at keeping the hiv virus in check than the previous modes of treatments. About 50 state adap programmes are facing steep rises in both costs and caseload. In the past year, 34 states have limited their programmes to stretch funding -- restricting access to new drugs like protease inhibitors, or capping the number of people allowed in the programme.

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