Obama Administration Decision May Force Florida to Pull AIDS Medications from Existing Patients

Hard Fought Increases in Federal ADAP Funding will See Little Benefit in Florida

TAMPA, Fla., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a shocking move by the Obama Administration, the State of Florida will likely be forced to stop providing AIDS medications to low income people who are currently taking life saving drugs due to limits on how much one state can receive from new federal funding.

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"Despite having over 3,550 people on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting list, because of this decision, the people of Florida will see little benefit from the $50 million increase in federal funding for the national ADAP program," commented Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. Forty percent of the people on the national ADAP waiting list live in Florida and the people of Florida and its congressional delegation fought hard for the federal ADAP funding increases.

Last July, in an effort to address the serious funding shortage in the ADAP program and growing wait lists in several states, the Obama Administration redistributed $25 million in federal funding to states hit hard by the ADAP crisis. Florida received $6.9 million and many patients were able to receive medications. Now, the Administration is limiting each state to a $3 million maximum, despite the higher overall funding level to be distributed.

"Once a patient begins taking AIDS medications, it is extremely critical that they continue to take them daily or risk developing drug resistance and dangerous health outcomes," continued Ruppal. "We can't imagine the Obama Administration, which has touted the benefits of AIDS treatment, would punish hundreds of AIDS patients in Florida by not even continuing the $6.9 million needed so they can continue to take their medications. We ask that they reconsider this decision and provide Florida with a greater share of the available funding."

While ADAP is a federal program, the State of Florida also has a responsibility in providing for its people. "We are extremely disappointed that Governor Scott and the state legislature have failed to provide any increase in state ADAP funding," added Ruppal. "The ADAP waiting list is not only inhumane but an embarrassment to our state." He concluded, "We need both the federal and state government, together with the pharmaceutical industry, to solve this urgent matter."

The AIDS Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes action for social change through public policy research, advocacy and education.

For more information and to become involved, please contact The AIDS Institute at: (202) 835-8373, or by email at: Info@theaidsinstitute.org or www.TheAIDSInstitute.org.   

SOURCE The AIDS Institute



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