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Alabama legislators move to boost ADAP spending

Alabama legislators move to boost ADAP spending

The Alabama legislature last week moved closer to ensuring that no HIV-positive people lose access to their medications because of a lack of state funding. The senate finance and taxation-general fund committee unanimously approved a house-passed bill that would boost the state health department's budget by $1 million for the current fiscal year. Most of the money for Alabama's AIDS Drug Assistance Program comes from the federal government. State health officer Don Williamson said the health department provides medicines to 1,150 HIV-positive people who make less than 200% of the federal poverty level but do not qualify for Medicaid. The currently budgeted $2 million is inadequate due to rising drug costs--from an average of $670 per month per patient to $850 per month--and because patients are living longer with the medication, he said. Without more funding, said Williamson, some patients could be dropped from the program; the extra $1 million means "nobody will be taken off this year," he said. The measure now goes to the senate for approval. Sen. Rodger Smitherman said he believes the appropriation will pass. "The most important thing we can do is preserve life," Smitherman said. (AP)

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