WASHINGTON, July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- HarborPath, a new, non-profit organization, has been established to create a program that offers a single place for application and medication fulfillment for uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS who otherwise qualify for manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs. A "one stop shop" portal will provide a streamlined, online process to qualify individuals and deliver the donated medications through a mail-order pharmacy.
To create the portal, HarborPath worked closely with the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which provided the seed funding for the organization. On World AIDS Day 2011, President Clinton, building on his longstanding commitment to combating HIV/AIDS domestically, noted the need to fight HIV/AIDS in the United States.
"HarborPath's new program addresses a critical need, and answers this call for a renewed emphasis on the domestic HIV epidemic," said President Clinton. "I am proud that my Foundation is partnering with NASTAD and other pharmaceutical manufacturers to make sure Americans living with HIV have access to the life-saving medications they need. This is an important step forward in our fight against the disease."
ViiV Healthcare is the first pharmaceutical company to agree to support the program by donating HIV/AIDS medications and funding.
"We are pleased to support HarborPath as it has the potential to allow more patients in need access to treatment and help retain them in care by simplifying the process of getting their complete regimen," said Bill Collier, Senior Vice President and Head of North America for ViiV Healthcare.
HarborPath will pilot the program in states with high need including Alabama, Texas and Virginia.
Need for a Streamlined Application Process
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources estimate that the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States is 1.2 million.[i] According to the Institute of Medicine, 325,000 of those 1.2 million people are uninsured and are not supported by federal programs like Medicaid or Medicare.[ii] The economic downturn has caused such programs, including the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) to lower the income eligibility levels required for participation, resulting in an unknown but potentially significant number of individuals who are no longer able to receive their medications through these systems.
Murray Penner, Deputy Executive Director at NASTAD, said, "Under the current PAP process, an individual or their case manager has to apply separately to each company's program for these medications, which can be complex and time-consuming. Thankfully, individuals are living longer with HIV/AIDS due to combination antiretroviral treatments. Missing doses or failing to fill prescriptions because of complications sometimes associated with these processes may result in serious health consequences, or even death, in addition to increased transmission of the virus. HarborPath is designed to address this urgent need in the United States."
A New Solution to Access HIV/AIDS Medications
"Pharmaceutical company-sponsored prescription assistance programs serve as an invaluable safety net for low-income, uninsured individuals," said Ken Trogdon, Jr., President of HarborPath. "Our program will simplify the process for the thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS who fall out of the system. HarborPath has evolved from discussions and requests from the community and the industry for a collaborative, seamless solution for the uninsured."
The goal of HarborPath is to get all HIV/AIDS medications into the program and serve uninsured individuals with:
"I am pleased to be working with President Clinton to make the process easier for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers to access life-saving medications," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, Co-Chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. "I'm hopeful the progress we have made since coming together on World AIDS Day will bring relief as waiting lists for antiretroviral therapies continue to grow at alarming rates, particularly in the South. HarborPath fills an overwhelming need and I encourage all stakeholders to offer their assistance to help people obtain the essential medications they need."
HarborPath is a new 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to assisting low-income, uninsured people living with HIV/AIDS gain access to their entire regimen of brand-name prescription medications at no cost through a single portal. For more information, visit www.harborpath.org.
About the Clinton Health Access Initiative
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) began in 2002 as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the developing world and strengthen health systems there. Taking the lead from governments and working with partners, CHAI has improved markets for medicines and diagnostics, lowered the costs of treatment, and expanded access to life-saving technologies – creating a sustainable model that can be owned and maintained by governments. CHAI has since expanded this model to increase access to high-quality treatment for malaria, accelerate the rollout of new vaccines, and lower infant mortality. Today, more than 4 million people are benefiting from medicines purchased under CHAI agreements.
Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a nonprofit national association of state and territorial health department HIV/AIDS program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education, and supportive services programs funded by state and federal governments. For more information, visit www.NASTAD.org
[i] Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (HIV/AIDS data through December 2008 provided for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, for fiscal year 2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012; 17(No. 1))
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