Thursday, January 11, 2018

NASTAD Releases Updated 2017 ADAP Formulary Database

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

Allowing people living with HIV/AIDS ("PLWHAs") to make informed decisions about their own healthcare has been a cornerstone of the ADAP Advocacy Association's mission since the organization launched in 2007. All too often, local service providers and advocacy organizations take a paternal approach to PLWHAs, evidenced by the complaints expressed directly by the people themselves. One organization should be commended for their efforts to put important treatment-related information directly at the fingertips of PLWHAs, specifically as it relates to drug formularies under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program ("ADAP").

Two pill capsules, one with the word "rejected" and one with the word "accepted" on them
Photo Source: lookfordiagnosis.com

The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors ("NASTAD") announced late last year that it had updated its Online AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Formulary Database (2017 version). According to NASTAD, its database provides "an online, searchable, publicly available resource detailing state-by-state ADAP coverage of medications both individually and by drug class including HIV antiretroviral ("ARV") treatments, A1 Opportunistic Infections ("A1 OI") medications, treatments for hepatitis B and C, mental health and substance use treatment medications, and various vaccines and laboratory tests."[1]

The database offers the following:[2]

  • General Information
  • Antiretroviral medications
  • ARV Generic Equivalents
  • “A 1” opportunistic infection medications
  • Hepatitis B treatments
  • Hepatitis C treatments
  • Substance use treatment medications
  • Mental health treatment medications
  • Other medication categories
  • Vaccines
  • HIV & STD diagnostics
  • Hepatitis C diagnostics

NASTAD's 2017 Online AIDS Drug Assistance Program Formulary Database is available online at https://www.nastad.org/adap-formulary-database.

Making such a valuable resource available directly to PLWHAs (and others) cannot be under-estimated in its importance. Access to timely, appropriate care and treatment is essential to achieving improved medication adherence, greater peace-of-mind, and better health for people living with any chronic health condition. Yet we know one of the most stressful things for PLWHAs are their medications. More efforts like NASTAD's database should be implemented across the treatment cascade.

In fact, that is the very reason why we launched our ADAP Directory. It offers PLWHAs (and others) a one-stop online resource center for the latest ADAP information for better decision-making for HIV/AIDS care; improved quality of HIV/AIDS information; and assistance for advocates and medical staff. It also includes an ADAP Eligibility Calculator. The ADAP Directory is available online at http://adap.directory.

Yes, that was a shameless plug for our flagship program. Now back to NASTAD's efforts...

NASTAD's database is very comprehensive. Some key findings from the updated 2017 ADAP Formulary Database include:[3]
  • 12 ADAPs have “open formularies” in which all FDA-approved medications are included, excluding designated exceptions
  • 39 ADAPs cover one or more hepatitis B treatment medication
  • 40 ADAPs cover one or more hepatitis C ("HCV") treatment medication
  • 34 ADAPs cover one or more of the curative direct acting antiviral ("DAA") HCV treatment medications
  • 46 ADAPs cover one or more of the most frequently prescribed mental health treatment medications
  • 27 ADAPs cover one or more substance use treatment medication
Any questions about NASTAD's database should be directed to Amanda Boyles at abowes@NASTAD.org. Kudos, NASTAD! Kudos!

NASTAD logo

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[1] Penner, Murray (2017, November 29); NASTAD Releases Updated 2017 ADAP Formulary Database; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). 
[2] National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (2017, November 29); 2017 ADAP Formulary Database; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD); page 4. 
[3] Penner, Murray (2017, November 29); NASTAD Releases Updated 2017 ADAP Formulary Database; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). 


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Gary was One for the Roses

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

In late 2006, Bill Arnold approached me about starting a national organization whose mission would be solely dedicated to promoting and enhancing the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Long before anyone else, Bill predicted the "Perfect Storm" that would befall the increasingly cash-strapped program. The idea behind the ADAP Advocacy Association was putting into place a platform to educate and mobilize people living with HIV/AIDS (and others) long before this storm rolled in. Next, Bill said, "If we're going to do it, then we're going to need Gary Rose on board."

Bill was right!

Gary Rose, after all, had years of specialized experience working to improve access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as viral hepatitis and leukemia. As a consultant, Gary worked closely with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and others to advance key advocacy programs and policies in oncology, rare disorders and other conditions with serious impacts on patients and their carers. He also worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of National AIDS Policy. In the late nineties through 2004, Gary served as Senior Vice President with Hyde Park Communications. His work included health systems consulting for clients including Hoffmann-La Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and the TAEP Project. In the 1990s, he served as the Research and Treatment Coordinator for the AIDS Action Council in Washington, DC. While at AIDS Action, Gary helped to form the ADAP Working Group and the Patients' Coalition for Responsible FDA Reform. He also served as a co-chair of the National Associations Responding to AIDS (NORA).

Gary R. Rose, JD
Gary R. Rose, JD
After I had learned about Gary's accomplishments and experience with so many big organizations, I was skeptical at the time that Gary would be interested. But he was thrilled with the idea of starting the ADAP Advocacy Association! I remember his exact words when Bill approached him about it. Gary said, "I'm in."

Throughout the early part of 2007, Gary served on the Organizing Committee charged with laying the foundation for the organization (along with Bill Arnold, John D. Kemp, Esq., Joyce Turner Keller, Keita Simmons, Philip A. Haddad, MD, and Rani G. Whitfield, MD). This Organizing Committee eventually was seated as the first Board of Directors after the organization was legally established on July 6, 2007.

Gary immediately left his imprint on me when he proposed a set of value statements. In his words, "They would be the foundational ideals under which the ADAP Advocacy Association operates." To this day the value statements are listed on our website, and they include:

  • That the organization consistently strives to achieve them, while encouraging its supporters to do the same.
  • That the voice of persons living with HIV/AIDS shall always be at the table and the center of the discussion.
  • That HIV/AIDS advocates should welcome the opportunity to join the skills, experience and voices with others on issues of disability and access to adequate healthcare for all Americans.
  • That advocacy efforts targeted to our federal government shall always carry the needed messages applicable at the state and local level.
  • That messages and information shall be in accessible formats understandable to - and also deliverable by - grassroots advocates in any setting.

Gary only served on our Board of Directors for one year, but he left his lasting mark on the organization in so many ways. Gary understood the importance of people living with HIV/AIDS being front and center on all advocacy efforts. In fact, he felt it was one area where some existing national organizations had lost their way. He constantly reminded us that an HIV organization cannot represent people living with the disease if they're not seated at the table, making the tough decisions. He also embraced the need to engage the broader disability advocacy movement because the two had gone their separate ways after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. Finally, Gary often lamented on the division within the HIV community itself, and stressed the need for the new organization to strive to bring all stakeholders together. That is why the following statement is also embedded in our work: The ADAP Advocacy Association works with advocates, community, health care, government, patients, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders.

On December 30th, Gary left us to go meet his Maker. I'm sure upon entering the pearly gates, Gary was looking how to make Heaven a better place because that is how he lived his life here on Earth. Gary was our friend, our colleague, our mentor, our leader and often times, our conscience. Gary was one for the roses, and that much is certain. Gary, you will be missed...

Gary R. Rose speaking at SAVE ADAP event
Gary R. Rose speaking at SAVE ADAP event in Wash-DC