April 1, 1997
DRUG ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO OFFER ALL PROTEASE INHIBITORS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) will be expanded immediately to include all four of the most promising class of AIDS-fighting drugs, known as protease inhibitors.
"The use of a protease inhibitor, in combination with other drugs, has been found to be highly effective in suppressing the production of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS," Dr. Lumpkin said. "This so-called 'cocktail' therapy offers hope to those living with HIV and holds the promise of HIV/AIDS becoming a manageable chronic disease."
Previously, ADAP had provided only one protease inhibitor -- saquinavir mesylate (Invirase) -- at no charge to those Illinoisans with HIV or AIDS who had the most financial need. The other three protease inhibitors on the market that are being added to the program are indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir) and nelfinavir mesylate (Viracept). Nelfinavir mesylate, the first protease inhibitor formulated for children as well as adults, was only approved for use two weeks ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition, the total number of drugs available through the state's ADAP will be 61, up from the 28 drugs that have been covered by the program for the past year.
The expansion of the drug assistance program was made possible by a special supplemental appropriation signed by Gov. Jim Edgar in February that provided ADAP $5 million in new state funding. The Governor's 1998 budget request of $15.8 million for ADAP continues the program's growth and represents nearly three times the amount spent on the program just two years ago.
"Through the efforts of the Governor and the General Assembly, Illinois now has one of the most comprehensive drug assistance programs in the United States," Dr. Lumpkin said. "And, in order to keep up with rapid changes in treatment options, new drugs approved by FDA will be considered for inclusion in ADAP on a quarterly basis by the Department and the program's medical issues committee."
To better manage the cost of the program, Dr. Lumpkin said that beginning June 1 a $1,000 a month drug benefit cap per client will be instituted, coupled with an aggressive plan to purchase drugs at the lowest wholesale cost available to the government. The monthly cap will support, at a minimum, triple combination therapies that include a protease inhibitor. The average cost per month for a protease inhibitor and two other antiviral drugs is about $750.
With the changes in the program, the Department estimates ADAP will now be able to serve about 1,550 clients per month, up from the current caseload of 1,300 persons. To qualify, a person must be diagnosed with AIDS or HIV infection, have an annual income no more than two times the federal poverty level, not be eligible for 80 percent or greater insurance coverage for drugs through another third party payer, and not be eligible for payment of prescription drugs from any other governmental entity.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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