A judge on Thursday blocked new Ohio AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) rules that would narrow eligibility for the treatment program. The changes were to have taken effect Friday, Nov. 4.
Ohio last month finalized measures to lower the patient income ceiling for ADAP eligibility and use medical guidelines to prioritize wait-listed patients. The Franklin County Common Pleas court ruling blocks implementation of these changes by the state Department of Health (DOH) pending the suit's resolution. A hearing is set for Nov. 15.
The plaintiffs, three AIDS patients, argue that the ADAP rules would "arbitrarily deny funding for potentially life-saving medications" to low-income un- and under-insured state residents with HIV/AIDS. They also claim the rules were not properly adopted and would give unilateral control over ADAP eligibility to the DOH director.
"The medical and financial criteria that are at the heart of these rule changes in Ohio are murder by proxy, pure and simple," one plaintiff said. Attempts to interview spokespersons for the state attorney general and DOH after business hours were unsuccessful.
Several state ADAPs have enacted cost-control measures such as capping enrollment, dropping patients, instituting waiting lists, narrowing income requirements, and cutting coverage of certain drugs and tests. Currently Ohio's ADAP has no waiting list; however, up to 485 patients were wait-listed within the past year, the plaintiffs said.