American Kidney Fund Applauds CMS Decision to Preserve Full Access to Immunosuppressive Drugs for Transplant Recipients


Immunosuppressants are one of Medicare’s ‘six protected classes’ of drugs for complex medical conditions

ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 17, 2019)—The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today commends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its decision to preserve access for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to its six protected classes of drugs that are essential for treating serious health conditions, including organ transplants. The CMS policy has long stood as a guarantee to patients that their access to all available medications for the most serious diseases would never be in doubt.

Proposed changes to the six protected classes policy were particularly concerning for people with kidney transplants who get their immunosuppressive drugs through a Medicare Part D plan. Doctors and transplant patients work together to find the right drug regimen that lessens side effects and manages the risk of organ rejection. It is a delicate balance, and for transplant patients who may also have comorbidities, finding the right balance can be even more challenging. Getting it wrong could result in losing the transplanted kidney. The CMS decision ensures that transplant patients have access to the full range of immunosuppressive drugs, so they can find the drug regimen that works for them.

“On behalf of more than 200,000 Americans living with kidney transplants and the 97,000 who are on the kidney transplant waiting list, we commend CMS for recognizing that people living with complex medical conditions need access to the full range of drugs available to treat them, without restrictions,” Burton said. 

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading independent nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling the nation’s low-income dialysis and transplant patients to access lifesaving medical care. AKF holds the highest ratings from the nation’s charity watchdog groups, including Charity Navigator, which includes AKF on its “top 10” list of nonprofits with the longest track records of outstanding stewardship of the donated dollar, and GuideStar, which has awarded AKF its Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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