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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

The case for early detection: Companies and MPs join patient group driving action on kidney disease

Health Industry Hub | March 13, 2023 |

Pharma News: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects more than 2 million Australians – that’s 1 in every 10 Australian adults. Kidney Health Australia launched the Deloitte report at Parliament House last week, bringing forth the case for early detection.

Representatives from several companies including AstraZeneca, Baxter Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim and CSL Vifor joined the launch to support a significant step in changing the paradigm from kidney failure to kidney preservation.

According to the report, kidney disease costs the Australian economy an estimated $9.9 billion annually including $2.3 billion in costs to the Australian health system. This equates to $4,795 per Australian diagnosed – however, this cost surges to $182,000 for every person whose CKD progresses to kidney failure.

“The physical, mental and financial burden of chronic kidney disease can be overwhelming for individuals and their families. That’s why we want more people diagnosed earlier so they can prevent progression to kidney failure and can maintain a good quality of life,” said Chris Forbes, CEO of Kidney Health Australia.

Australia could save $509 million annually or $10.2 billion across the next 20 years, if there is investment in early detection of CKD.

Andrew Wilson MP, Federal Member for Dawson at LNP, said “I attended a pop up clinic in Parliament House hosted by Kidney Health Australia and participated in a Kidney Health Check. This takes only a few minutes and can be carried out by your local GP. It includes a blood pressure check, urine test and blood test.”

The first treatment reimbursed for chronic kidney disease in over 20 years was welcomed by clinicians in in September 2022 when AstraZeneca’s Forxiga (dapagliflozin), a SGLT2 inhibitor, was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Other innovative therapies include Travere Therapeutics’ Sparsentan, a first-of-its-kind drug for a rare kidney disease – primary immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) – that has just secured FDA approval.

However, when considering dialysis, this treatment option has not fundamentally changed since the early 1960s. Portable or, ultimately, implantable devices could improve survival rates and quality of life. The chief challenges are how to replicate the activity of living kidneys as closely as possible, and how to do so without the huge volume of water used in conventional haemodialysis. The machines in dialysis centres, which filter blood through polymer membranes, weigh more than 100 kilograms and require 120–180 litres of water each session to flush away waste.

The ultimate solution would be for everyone on dialysis to receive a new kidney, but there aren’t enough donor organs available for transplants. 

As Kidney Health Australia’s report highlighted “The case for early detection is clear.”

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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