We recently wrote on prescription assistance programs, though the focus was primarily on uninsured and underinsured seniors. This week we shift that focus to the H.I.V. and AIDS populations.
According to the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, the H.I.V. and AIDS populations are suffering more than ever when it comes to carrying the burden of prescription costs, due to our failing economy and poorly financed healthcare. H.I.V. and AIDS patients – who, on average, have annual drug bills of $12,000, are being dropped from their prescription assistance programs, told that their state’s programs are capped or closed, or placed on a seemingly endless waitlist for assistance. What’s more, as enrollment for drug assistance has increased (12% from 2008 to 2009 according to the New York Times), government funding has stayed more or less the same.
Now these patients have entered a new territory – somewhat mirroring the horrendous height of the late 80s. While AIDS drugs are now available, they are just not affordable. As is often the case when prescription costs are too high, there has been an increase in prescription abandonment and thus an increase in both fear and illness. Some patients who could have contained their H.I.V. will now develop full blown AIDS, and others will not be able to economically manage their afflictions, but may end up in hospitals in need of serious and costly treatment.
Prescriptions covered by the AIDS Drug Assistance Program are not just those specific to H.I.V. and AIDS, says AIDSMeds.com. There are also drugs that help with related side effects and conditions, such as anxiety and depression. As the sluggish economy chips away at AIDS prescription assistance programs, patients with H.I.V. and AIDS also struggle to afford medication such as Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro.
A matter of life and death, access to safe and affordable H.I.V. and AIDS medications ought to be a given. So yet again, we make the simple claim that when access is not available domestically, personal drug importation from lower-cost, verified online pharmacies may provide a very real lifeline to those suffering.
[table “10” not found /]