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New Survey Reveals Kidney Patients' Concern About Medicare Policies
Date:9/19/2007

GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 800 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) responded to a survey conducted by the Renal Support Network, a non-profit organization. The survey focused on current issues that affect the care of patients with CKD, including Medicare policies on anemia management, patient education, reimbursement for transplant medications and dialysis services.

The survey explored patient preferences for administering anemia management drugs called erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs). For almost 20 years, these drugs have been administered through the tubing of the dialysis machine, which provides an effective and painless method of receiving treatment via already established intravenous route (IV). During a recent testimony at the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on health, it was stated that patients on hemodialysis would not mind receiving ESA therapy by the subcutaneous (SC) route -- which would mean that patients would have to receive the medication via an oftentimes-painful injection in the skin.

The results of the survey revealed that 85% felt that the decision on how to administer medications should be made by the patient and their physician, and should not be dictated by government policy. On a related question, 84% of patients prefer having ESAs administered in the tubing of their hemodialysis machine.

RSN included some questions in the survey about the administration of ESAs because numerous patients contacted them after viewing the testimony at the health subcommittee, baffled by statements that patients wouldn't mind additional subcutaneous injections. Survey comments illustrated how strongly most patients objected to subcutaneous administration of ESAs. For example, Kathe LeBeau, a patient on dialysis, said, "I resent the implication that no kidney patients mind additional needle sticks. With all the tests and medications and invasive treatments commensurate with that, even one more needle
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SOURCE Renal Support Network
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