Trending News Today: Funding for HIV Care Program Remains Stagnant

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Funding for Medi-Cal’s HIV-AIDS program, California’s version of Medicaid, has remained largely stagnant over the past 15 years, reported Kaiser Health News. Through this state-funded program, patients can access different services, such as case management, nursing, caregiving, therapy, transportation, and home-delivered meals. The program was created to help HIV and AIDS patients avoid expensive hospitalizations and nursing home stays. Statewide, the number of participants is below 1400, a 40% decrease since 2008. Additionally, the amount of agencies that provide the services has dropped from 44 to approximately 2 dozen. “If more money doesn’t come through, more programs are going to end up closing their doors,” said Scott Singer, director of behavioral health for AIDS Project Los Angeles. “Hospitalizations are going to go up and that is going to cost the state more money.”

Despite efforts to put a stop to the rising cost of drugs and the continual backlash drug makers have received over the last year, pharmaceutical companies are continuing to increase the prices of their products. The New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson increased its prices on several top selling drugs in April alone. These products included Imbruvica for the treatment of leukemia, Invokana for diabetes, and Xarelto, an anti-clotting drug. Additionally, an analyst for investment bank Leerink, states that other major companies such as Amgen, Celgene, and Gilead have also increased prices this year as well.

The rapid increase of prescription drug costs has received flak from both politicians and patients alike and a solution to this issue has still not been met, reported The New York Times. Several surveys have indicated that Americans regularly cite drug prices as their main health care concern. With some cancer drugs costing more than $100,000 a year, health plans are increasingly asking for patients to help share the cost. Many presidential candidates continue to bring up high drug costs, and Congress has even joined the debate by holding a series of hearings on the issue.