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September 24, 2010

AIDS, HIV patients getting help from pharmaceutical companies "Despite a statewide waiting list of more than 1,400 newly diagnosed HIV and AIDS patients who need antiretroviral drugs but can't pay for them, a robust response from big pharmaceutical companies so far is filling most of the crucial need, state health officials say.

"`I'm not shy about criticizing pharmaceutical companies. But I have to say they have helped us respond to this crisis so we don't have lapses in drug treatment,'' said Thomas Liberti, chief of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS in the Florida Department of Health.

"It could have been tragic, Liberti said. A $1 million state funding cut last year to Florida's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) coincided with a ``perfect storm'' of new patients needing drugs to stay alive, he said."