How to Deal with the High Priced Kidney Transplant Anti-Rejection Drugs

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Kidney transplant patients must have anti-rejection medications to keep their transplanted organs, but they often cannot afford them. Although Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients can get money for their transplants, after they receive a new kidney they find that there are enormous limitations on obtaining the medications required to keep their kidneys from being rejected.

When you receive a kidney transplant in the United States, whether from a living donor or a cadaver, you only receive Medicare Insurance for three (3) years. Then you must seek private insurance or pay the full price for very expensive anti-rejection medicines.

Some people who cannot afford the drugs end up back on dialysis. In today's economy the economic challenges due to the recession make surviving CKD very difficult because people are losing their jobs, and thereby losing their ability to sustain their healthcare.

Surveys show that Kidney Transplant patients do everything they possible can for themselves before they cry-out for help to solve their dilemma. These efforts include borrowing money from family and friends and "maxing out" their credit cards. Of course it weighs heavily on their minds, "Will I get a job, will I be able to work, will I have insurance?" Also, many of them feel guilty and ashamed that if their three years of government supplemented medication run out, and they can no longer obtain their required medication, then they would have wasted "the gift of life" with which they were entrusted. What a heavy burden for an individual to bare?

The cost of medications is around $1000.00-$1500.00 a month. The lab work averages about $3500.00 PER blood drawn and the average recipient needs blood drawn once a month. You should be aware that most drug manufacturers have indigent patient programs called, patient-assistance programs, which may be able to help you get the drugs you need. There are also other resources such as the Commission on Kidney Disease in Maryland that can assist with affording anti-rejection medication. If you are struggling to buy your needed transplant medication it is suggested that you talk to your social worker, coordinator or even your pharmacist.

There have been attempts in Washington D.C. to get these anti-rejection medications covered, and legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate.  KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you immediately contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators and encourage them to initiate and support much needed legislation that would save lives.

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Recommended Reading: 

Some Kidney Transplant Drugs are Just Too High
Quick and Insightful: Interview with Kidney Transplant Recipient
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