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Medicare drug
plan hurts many HIV patients

Medicare drug
plan hurts many HIV patients

Access to drugs through the Medicare drug program is cumbersome, say health officials.

The new Medicare prescription drug benefit is hurting many of the HIV patients who rely on the program for treatment, as cumbersome preauthorization requirements and piles of paperwork for doctors can delay or even prevent access to needed medications, The New York Times reports. Numbers of companies are under contract with Medicare to provide prescription drug access, but some of these have limited drug formularies or require doctors to get preauthorization to prescribe certain medications. Each participating program can have as many as 30 preauthorization forms for certain drugs. Some also require doctors to submit an HIV patient's viral load and white blood cell count to the plan before prescribing anti-HIV medications.

"We have seen signs that Medicare drug plans are using management controls to deter access to medically appropriate drugs, including drugs in their own formularies," Steven Levenson, president-elect of the American Medical Directors Association, told the Times. (Advocate.com)

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