AIDS Treatment News Issue #228, August 4, 1995
As this issue goes to press, AIDS Treatment News has heard
that Medi-Cal will pay for human growth hormone through the
Serono treatment IND, for some patients, starting August 1.
Serono will start processing Medi-Cal applications on that
date. Physicians and patients will still apply for the
program in the same way, by calling the Serono phone number
below, as Serono handles the reimbursement paperwork.
To qualify for the Serono program (regardless of whether or
not one is applying for Medi-Cal reimbursement), a physician
must determine that a patient has AIDS-related wasting, with
loss of at least 10% of body weight. The patient must be on
antiretroviral treatment, and must be 18 or older. Until
recently, the program also required the patient to fail both
Megace and Marinol, which are FDA-approved for wasting; but
due to a recent protocol amendment, patients now must only
fail one of those drugs, and that requirement can be waived
if the physician determines that both of them are medically
In order to enroll patients, a physician must first qualify
as a site with Serono. Later, less paperwork is required to
add each individual patient. Physicians should begin the
process by calling the Serostim Information Line, 800/714-
Patients also can call this number for information.
As is often the case in AIDS care and activism, a number of
people behind the scenes deserve particular credit for making
this potentially life-saving treatment more available.