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Medicaid’s drug limit lifted for HIVers

Medicaid’s drug limit lifted for HIVers

Limit on brand-name drugs hampers antiretroviral therapy, advocates say.

Although the Mississippi Medicaid program has implemented rules limiting the number of prescription drugs for participants to just five per month, the limit is being lifted for HIV patients, The [Jackson, Miss.] Clarion-Ledger reports. The new drug policy limits Medicaid enrollees to just two brand-name drugs and three generic medications per month. But AIDS advocates challenged that policy, noting that HIV patients need at least three brand-name antiretroviral drugs to successfully treat the disease and often other medications to fight the side effects of the antiretroviral drugs or to treat other HIV-related conditions.

State assistant attorney general Harold Pizzetta says the prescription limit for HIV patients will revert back to the old policy of allowing up to seven drugs per month--five of any type and two that require prior authorization.

The prescription limit also is being challenged in federal court by low-income Mississippi residents with other diseases, who claim they are unable to get the drugs they need. A federal court heard testimony this week in a case brought by eight plaintiffs challenging the drug limit. The judge in the case is expected to rule within two weeks on placing a permanent injunction against the state's Medicaid prescription limit. (

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