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ADDITIONAL AIDS DRUGS PROVIDED THROUGH PENNSYLVANIA STATE PROGRAM

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- State Public Welfare Secretary Karen F. Snider said that starting today her department will begin paying for five additional medications for people with HIV disease and AIDS, as well as disposable medical supplies for certain treatments.
 Snider said the drugs will be provided through the department's Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program, which began in 1987 to help moderate-income people who cannot afford the high cost of HIV/AIDS treatment medications. With today's action, the state now pays for 19 drugs for HIV disease and AIDS.
 "In recent years, the commonwealth and the nation have witnessed a sweeping increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases," Snider said.
 "At the direction of Gov. Casey, the commonwealth has taken a leadership role to fund and administer a program that helps tackle the escalating costs of drug treatments for those Pennsylvanians who are eligible. Without this assistance, many of these individuals would be unable to afford the medications they need."
 Snider said the medications, which are covered by state and federal Ryan White Emergency Care Act funds, include Biaxin, Marinol, Mepron, Mycobutin and Sporanox. The program also will lift restrictions for Diflucan coverage that was previously limited to the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis.
 In addition, the program will cover disposable medical supplies used for intravenous HIV/AIDS-related treatments, including disposable home pumps, sterile water for injection, syringes and needles, Snider said.
 Last year, the program added several medications for people with HIV/AIDS, including Videx, Hivid, Zovirax, Foscavir and Cipro. The program also provided funds for the drug Clozaril, an anti-psychotic medication that has proven effective in treating people who are affected by schizophrenia.
 Since the program began, eligibility has increased fivefold, reaching a current caseload of nearly 1,700.
 To be eligible, individuals must reside in Pennsylvania, but not in any institution where these medications are available; have an individual income of less than $25,000, or a family income of less than $30,000; and have medical need for the drug.
 Applications are available from county assistance offices, AIDS-services agencies, hospital social service departments, state health centers, hemophilia and renal dialysis centers, mental health centers, and some physicians and pharmacies.
 Further information is available by writing to: Department of Public Welfare, Special Pharmaceutical Benefits Program, P.O. Box 8021, Harrisburg, PA, 17105; or by calling 800-922-9384.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/11/94
 /CONTACT: Mark McGaffin of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, 717-787-4592/


CO: Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:

JO -- PH008 -- 0958 01/11/94 11:31 EST
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Date:Jan 11, 1994
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