Anti-rejection Drugs for Transplant Recipients

Posted on Mar 14, 2014 in Polycystic Kidney Disease | 2 comments

Anti-rejection Drugs for Transplant Recipients

If you or a loved one have entered into the world of organ donation and transplantation, I hope you will take action.  There is a need for changes to be made when it comes to the laws that cover the anti-rejection medicine transplant recipients must take after receiving a kidney transplant.

The current laws were written when organ donation was relatively new and organ transplants weren’t expected to keep a patient alive as long as today’s transplant recipients can now live.  The explosions of improved drugs used to prevent rejection are to thank for this wonderful progress.

Please read the details below provided by the National Kidney Foundation and let your elected officials know that common sense dictates changes are needed.


The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 (H.R. 1428/ S. 323) would protect the access to vital medications kidney transplant recipients need to survive.

Any person with kidney failure is eligible for Medicare, even if they are not over 65 or disabled. However, transplant recipients on Medicare, who are under age 65 or not disabled, lose their Medicare, three years after the transplant. For many, that means being unable to pay for the anti-rejection medications they need to live or prevent going back on dialysis.

The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 would change that and allow those under 65, who are not otherwise disabled, to continue have Medicare cover their kidney saving anti-rejection drugs.

Tell Congress to act and cosponsor H.R. 1428 and S. 323.

Individuals with chronic kidney failure, who require dialysis or a transplant to survive, are eligible for Medicare regardless of age or other disability.  There is no time limit on Medicare coverage for dialysis patients.  However, transplant recipients who are not aged or disabled retain Medicare eligibility only for 36 months following their transplant.  After their Medicare ends, they often face the challenge of getting affordable health insurance, greatly increasing the risk of organ rejection if they cannot afford their required medications.  If the transplanted kidney fails, they return to dialysis or receive another transplant paid for by Medicare, both which are more costly than maintaining the new kidney (Medicare spends only about $25,000 per year for a kidney transplant recipient, after the year of the transplant, but more than $124,000 in the first year of transplant and over  $86,000 annually on a dialysis patient).

The Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2013 would extend Medicare only for immunosuppressive medications.  Coverage of any other health needs would end 36 months after the transplant, as under current law.  The legislation also requires group health plans to maintain coverage of immunosuppressive drugs if they presently include this benefit.  By supporting lifetime immunosuppressive coverage, you will help improve long-term transplant outcomes, reduce the number of kidney patients who require another transplant, and enable more patients to choose transplantation as their therapy.


  1. My son is on the kidney transplant list and will require immunosuppressive drugs for rest of his life. Act2013 is important for him and others that will need these drugs to keep transplant from rejection and keep him from dialysis.

    • Bless your son and his donor! Together we must work to explain the importance and the need for common sense about the details and need for immunosuppressive drugs. We just need Congress to listen and understand that the cost of these drugs and the benefit to society of a healthy transplant recipient is more beneficial than losing a precious transplant because of inability to pay for the drugs! Transplantation is a great blessing and miracle of our times. Medical science keeps making great progress! There is hope for cures to these diseases, but until that happens we must be wise about transplantation!

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