ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 27, 2020) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today announced the largest gift to date to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund, a $150,000 donation from the Sozosei Foundation, a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation established in late 2019 by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., that is committed to the health and well-being of communities.
AKF established its Coronavirus Emergency Fund in late March to provide financial assistance to low-income dialysis and post-transplant patients who are struggling to pay for renal-friendly foods, transportation and medical essentials during the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly 8,000 patients have applied for emergency assistance, and AKF has been appealing to companies, foundations and individuals to help make up a significant shortfall in funding resulting from an unprecedented level of need.
"We, and the patients we serve, are so grateful to the Sozosei Foundation for their compassionate generosity during this time of great need," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Because of this most generous gift, hundreds of low-income dialysis and post-transplant patients will receive desperately needed grants to help them at a time when they are struggling and vulnerable."
Dialysis patients are at high risk for serious illness if they become infected with the virus because of their underlying medical conditions, but they cannot postpone their life-sustaining dialysis treatments and may need to pay for private transportation to minimize potential exposure. In addition, they are required to follow a restricted diet consisting of renal-friendly foods that are often unavailable from food banks. Post-transplant patients take immunosuppressive medications that increase their susceptibility to diseases like COVID-19. Social distancing requirements and shortages of food and supplies are adding unexpected expenses for patients who can least afford them.
The Sozosei Foundation has provided nearly $1 million in grants to help people in need during the COVID-19 emergency. The Foundation focuses its efforts on mental health and kidney diseases, disaster relief and local community outreach.
100% of the Sozosei Foundation's donation to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund will go directly to low-income dialysis and post-transplant patients who are struggling financially during the pandemic.
Dialysis and transplant patients may get more information about applying for AKF emergency grants from their social workers or transplant coordinators. They may also apply on their own behalf by visiting http://gms.kidneyfund.org and filling out a profile in AKF's grants management system. Patients who are already receiving AKF financial assistance may use their existing AKF grants management system profile to apply.
AKF has also established a special webpage, KidneyFund.org/coronavirus, with information and resources to help patients and families through this challenging period.
AKF is a 4-Star rated charity that is included on Charity Navigator's list of highly rated nonprofits providing emergency assistance in communities. Any individual who would like to make a contribution to the AKF Coronavirus Emergency Fund may donate at www.kidneyfund.org/emergency.
About the Sozosei Foundation
The Sozosei Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation committed to the health and well-being of our communities, including improved patient diagnosis, treatment, care, and quality of life, especially for those patients who are most in need.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: "Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide." Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.
In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a "big venture" company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.
Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies' 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs. Otsuka's most recently approved product in the U.S. is the first-ever treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder in which fluid-filled cysts develop in the kidneys over time, often leading to kidney failure.
OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 47,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 11.7 billion in 2018.
All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less travelled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at www.otsuka-us.com and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.'s global website is accessible at www.otsuka.co.jp/en/.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.