State Cuts AIDS Medications to Save Money

SEPTEMBER 16, 2004 - Posted at 7:41 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Department of Health says it will drop coverage for two medications under the Arkansas AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

Without the cuts, the program risks running out of money before the end of the funding period March 31.

The federal AIDS drug program helps lower-income Arkansans.  The program receives about $3.2 million in federal funds annually.  With more than six months left in the fiscal year, the department says the drug-assistance program has about $1.5 million remaining.

The committee hopes that eliminating the two medications, Valcyte and Sporanox, it will save about $10,000 per month.

In April, the health department announced that the program could only support 460 clients and it would start a waiting list.  The program is trying to further reduce the number of clients to 425.  Eleven patients are on the waiting list.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)