On May 1st, the National Kidney Foundation and 14 other leading kidney organizations participated in Kidney Community Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
The event, organized by the American Society of Nephrology, brought together patients and physicians to press on two issues that will impact 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.
Research and innovation are critical to advancing new therapies for the more than 26 million Americans with kidney disease. NKF campaigned 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 cure the public health burden caused by kidney disease. These programs are also vital to increasing successful transplantation rates and ensuring safe and more equitable allocation of organs.
Extending Medicare’s coverage of immunosuppressive drugs has been one of the National Kidney Foundation’s top legislative priorities for many years. Kidney transplant recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs to maintain the health of their transplants. Currently, Medicare only covers the cost of these drugs for 36 months. Those who cannot afford to pay for the immunosuppressive drugs (approximately $4,000 per year) end up back on dialysis (the government spends approximately $90,000 a year for care for patients on dialysis). Extending Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs over a recipient’s lifetime is the common sense solution, improving quality of life for people with kidney disease and saving taxpayer dollars.
While we’re fighting for kidney patients in D.C. you can help too. Continue to communicate with your members of Congress! Be sure to tell them what immunosuppressive legislation and further research would mean for you and others affected by kidney disease. Take Action today!
Together, we can make sure that life-saving immuno drugs are available for all kidney transplant recipients and can continue making strides to stop kidney disease before transplants are needed.