Highlights• Fifteen leading kidney organizations will gather in Washington on May 1 to support two major issues in kidney care—increasing kidney research funding and extending immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant recipients• Kidney disease is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States

Kidney disease affects more than 20 million Americans

Newswise — Washington, DC (May 1, 2014) —Today, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) will join 14 other leading kidney organizations to push for essential change in kidney care. Participants in Kidney Community Advocacy Day, representing the nation’s kidney patients and health professionals, will meet with government leaders to discuss two 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.

Funding Innovation, Improving LivesResearch and innovation are critical to advancing new therapies for the more than 20 million Americans with kidney disease. Kidney Community Advocacy Day participants will campaign 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 this public health burden.

Immunosuppressive Coverage—A Common Sense ChoiceKidney 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.

Leaders participating in Kidney Community Advocacy Day know what’s at stake:

• 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 wait list.• Nearly all patients with kidney failure are Medicare beneficiaries regardless of age, income, or disability. • ESRD patients account for nearly 7% of Medicare costs but less than 1% of Medicare patients—a total of nearly $35 billion annually. • Nearly 28% of Medicare expenditures involve patients diagnosed with kidney disease.

ASN is pleased to give voice to the more than 20 million Americans with kidney disease through its participation in Kidney Community Advocacy Day.

Founded in 1966, and with nearly 15,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

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Suggested Tweets15 kidney organizations gathering on Capitol Hill to focus on need for more kidney research funding #KidneyAdvocacy

15 kidney organizations call for Congress to extend immunosuppressive coverage for transplant recipients #KidneyAdvocacy

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