RPA Advocates for Extending Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage and Increased Funding for Kidney Research

May 01, 2014, 11:02 ET from Renal Physicians Association

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today RPA joins 14 other kidney organizations to promote changes in kidney care on Capitol Hill. Participants in Kidney Community Advocacy Day represent health professionals and kidney patients and will meet with elected officials and their staff to discuss issues that will improve the treatment and quality of life for millions of Americans: increasing federal investment in kidney research, and extending lifetime immunosuppressive drug coverage for kidney transplant recipients.

Increase Kidney Research Funding
Research and innovation are critical to advancing new therapies for the more than 20 million Americans with kidney disease. RPA will support efforts advocating for an additional $150 million per year for 10 years in additional kidney research funding to spur innovation. This funding is needed to help develop new therapies that enhance patients' lives and ultimately reduce this public health burden.

Extend Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage
Currently, Medicare covers the cost of immunosuppressive drugs for 36 months. Kidney transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs to maintain the health of their transplants. Those who cannot afford to pay for the immunosuppressive drugs (approximately $4,000 per year) end up back on dialysis which costs Medicare approximately $90,000 per year per patient. Extending Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs for the life of the transplant will improve quality of life for people with kidney disease and save taxpayer dollars.

  • More than 20 million Americans have kidney disease, the 8th leading cause of death in the United States.
    • 200,000 of these Americans are children and adolescents, 15,000 of whom are reliant on dialysis or a kidney transplant to remain alive.
  • More than 600,000 Americans have kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
  • More than 185,000 Americans live with a kidney transplant and more than 100,000 more are on the waiting list.
  • Nearly all patients with kidney failure are Medicare beneficiaries. 
  • ESRD patients account for nearly 7% of Medicare costs ($35 billion annually) but comprise less than 1% of the total Medicare beneficiary population.

The Renal Physicians Association (RPA) is the professional organization of nephrologists whose goal is to ensure quality care under the highest standards of medical practice for patients with kidney disease and related disorders. RPA is celebrating 40 years as the advocate for excellence in nephrology practice. For more information about RPA's advocacy agenda, Political Action Committee, and Capitol Hill activities contact RPA's Director of Public Policy Robert Blaser at rblaser@renalmd.org or visit www.renalmd.org.

SOURCE Renal Physicians Association