Transplant News stories from March, 2016

Important legislation that would prevent stripping antidepressants and immunosuppresants of their protected status

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Published on March 21, 2016

Because patients that rely on antidepressants and immunosuppressant medications may react differently to each treatment, access to the full range of effective medications is a crucial component of successful care.

Let’s protect those who have to take antidepressants and immunosuppressants from having their medications stripped from being protected.

The Senate is now considering important legislation that would cement today’s protections by codifying the current provision under Medicare Part D that ensures open access to beneficiaries in need of potentially lifesaving antidepressants, immuno-suppressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, oncology, and HIV/AIDS drugs.

In March of this year, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Medicare Formulary Improvement Act (S.648). Unfortunately, this effort is currently stalled in the Senate pending a necessary “scoring” of the bill’s budgetary impact by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The bill’s sponsors, and we, believe that the bill will score at a cost of “zero,” but without the CBO’s analysis, Congress simply won’t allow the bill to move forward.

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New Procedure Could Dramatically Increase Number Of {living donor} Kidney Transplants

A revolutionary new procedure could dramatically increase of number of kidney transplants.
Montgomery has helped develop an approach to get rid of harmful antibodies by filtering them out of the blood. Dr. Robert Montgomery is the director of the New York University Langone Transplant Institute.

Because the blood filtering can take up to two weeks, desensitization is only useful for living donors, not deceased donors where you may only have hours to harvest viable organs. Even so, it could dramatically improve the number of kidney transplants.

“Basically what that does is lower the antibody to a safe level to do the transplant so it won’t be immediately rejected. And then some kind of magic happens and in most cases the antibody stays low like that and the patient goes on to have a normal longevity of their transplant,” he explained.

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