Secular Trends in the Cost of Immunosuppressants after Solid Organ Transplantation in the United States

Generic medications reduce the lifetime costs of organ transplantation

The priceless gift of a transplanted organ comes with life-long costs of the critical immunosuppressant medications that prevent rejection. Although Medicare provides coverage for these drugs to kidney transplant recipients in the three years following a transplant, many transplant recipients have difficulty affording the related out-of-pocket costs post-transplantation.

Findings of a study conducted by Arbor Research Collaborative for Health indicate the potential of relief for these patients and Medicare. This work by Margaret E. Helmuth and her colleagues was published February 28, 2019, in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). They examined cost changes following the introduction of generic variations of two commonly prescribed immunosuppressants and determined that the introduction of generic medications in this class has resulted in substantial savings for transplant patients and Medicare.

Uptake of Generic vs Brand Name Immunosuppressants Among US Organ Transplant Recipients

After an organ transplant, a transplant recipient must take immunosuppressive medications to reduce the risk of their body rejecting the transplanted organ. Although using therapeutically equivalent generic medications can reduce financial burden, the transplant community has expressed caution about substituting these for brand-name immunosuppressants.

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