Kidney Care Partners issue statement on managing anemia in patients with kidney disease

Statement on Managing Anemia in Patients with Kidney Disease

Kidney Care Partners (KCP) – a non-profit organization representing the kidney care community – welcomes and urges collaboration among policymakers, scientists and the medical community to achieve optimum anemia management for patients with kidney disease and kidney failure who depend on erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to stimulate red blood cell production in their bodies.

In light of the F.D.A.’s recent health advisory regarding ESAs, KCP urges constructive discussions by the medical, scientific and public policy communities on the use of these life-changing agents for kidney patients as a necessary process to ensure that the right clinical and public policies are in place to meet specific patient needs. While we believe that the F.D.A. is entirely correct in its objective to achieve proper dosing among a variety of patient populations who depend on ESAs, it is important to strike a balance that meets the medical needs of different patient populations – avoiding potential for over correction and under correction of their anemia, both of which can be harmful.

Because different patient populations react differently to ESAs, establishing an overarching anemia management protocol is challenging. Therefore, this important and necessary debate should involve all relevant parties throughout the kidney community and consider all relevant scientific studies on various patient populations who depend on ESAs in order to reach a conclusion that best meets the needs of patients and ensures their safety.

Anemia-management drugs have been well demonstrated to improve quality of life for kidney patients—both adult and pediatric—and have been accepted for use in this population since approval of ESAs in 1989. The treatments have helped to revolutionize care for dialysis patients, improving patient quality of care and quality of life and avoiding blood transfusions, which were the norm before the advent of ESAs. Since then, several studies have also demonstrated improvement in the morbidity and mortality of patients with kidney disease and kidney failure by the appropriate management of their anemia.

With the recent increased level of attention concerning ESA use, KCP urges patients with kidney disease or kidney failure to contact their physicians with any questions or concerns about their drug regimen.

KCP remains a committed participant in the clinical dialogue over anemia management because it is essential to ensuring the health and well being of kidney patients.

Kidney Care Partners is a nationwide alliance of patients, doctors, patient advocates, dialysis professionals, providers and manufacturers working together to improve the quality of care for individuals with kidney failure.

Abbott Laboratories

American Kidney Fund

American Nephrology Nurses’ Association

American Regent, Inc.

American Renal Associates, Inc.

American Society of Nephrology

American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

California Dialysis Council

Centers for Dialysis Care

DaVita, Inc.

DaVita Patient Citizens

Fresenius Medical Care North America


Medical Education Institute

National Kidney Foundation

National Renal Administrators Association

Northwest Kidney Centers

Renal Advantage Inc.

Renal Physician’s Association

Renal Support Network

Roche Laboratories

Satellite Health Care

U.S. Renal Care

Watson Pharma, Inc.